All Prism Blog Posts, Endometriosis, Surgical Recovery & Scars

10 Essentials for Surviving Endometriosis

OK, ya’ll, I’ve put a LOT of time and research into curating this list for you and I’m super proud of it! What is it missing? What future posts would you like to see? Email me to suggest topics!

I’ve suffered from endometriosis for as long as I can remember. Like most of us with endo, I wasn’t diagnosed until YEARS after my symptoms began. It has therefore taken me a long time to figure out how to live with this condition; I’m sure many of you can relate! I wanted to share some of the things that have made my life so much easier. I hope they help you too :)

These tips are also great for those of you recovering from vaginoplasty, hysterectomy, and many laparoscopic abdominal surgeries too!

  1.  Pelvic cushion: seriously the best investment for endo, or anyone with pelvic or tailbone pain. Pudendal neuralgia, coccydynia, and hemorrhoids folks will benefit from this as well. Use it every time you drive, anytime you’re sitting at home or at the office, or in a restaurant, theater, friends’ house, etc. Just use it, it’s so worth it!
    1.  Comfi-Life is the cheapest option, and is super effective. I like the gel-enhanced version over the slightly cheaper foam option. It’s a bit obvious that it’s a butt cushion, so not as great for travel, but great for leaving in your car, wheelchair, or office chair.
    2. If that one doesn’t work for you, try this more expensive option with a larger cut out. They also have a travel version, which is easy to carry, folds up like a weird purse, and doesn’t scream, “I have butt pain.” You can also, in a pinch, use a travel neck pillow, though they don’t work as well because they’re small.
  2. Sugar-free coconut flakes: because I always need a good snack and it’s hard to find travel-friendly options that work with my modified autoimmune protocol diet.
    1. Get these AIP certified coconut chips online; or Trader Joe’s sugar-free coconut flakes, which are just as good and cheaper.
    2. Or make them yourself with this AIP friendly recipe.
    3. More AIP snack ideas here.
  3. Standing desk: because sitting all day is pretty much the worst thing you can do for endo pain.
    1. You can get fancy adjustable ones so you can sit and stand, especially helpful if you tend to get worn out from standing too much. Here are some high end, midrange, and cheaper options.
    2.  Ikea also has an even cheaper option that fits in tiny spaces, but it doesn’t adjust. I have this one and like all the storage space it has underneath; I don’t have to have a separate storage area for work stuff.
    3. More tips on choosing a standing desk here.
  4. Castor oil compress
    1. Heat alone is super helpful for most endo pain. Combining it with castor oil is even more relieving. Castor oil supports lymphatic drainage and boosts your immune system activity to actually help digest endometrial implants, scar tissue and fibroids, resulting in less pain and inflammation over time! Here’s how to do it.
    2. Don’t use castor oil compresses during menstruation or if you might be pregnant. It’s best to use them daily at first, starting after your period ends and ending when it begins again. As you improve, you can start backing off to once a week except the week before your period, when it’s still best to do it 2-3 times. Commit to doing them for at least 6 months to get their full effect. You can reuse the oil-soaked fabric and keep it in the freezer between uses. Just let it defrost before using again! Replace it after about 7 uses. More information on using castor oil packs.
    3. Use a cold-pressed, hexane-free, paraben-free option like this one or this one which is available in most pharmacies. You can get the whole shebang as a premade kit like this, or get a cute set on etsy with this oil and flannel and tie on cover. You can add essential oils to your castor oil, but DO NOT use lavender or sage which are estrogenic. Check out this lovely local Chinese herb and CBD infused option, which we well at Prism (email me to order!).
  5. Foam roller
    1. Endometriosis can cause fibromyalgia-like hypersensitization of the myofascial system, resulting in muscular pain not only around the pelvis, but all over the body’s trigger points (aka acupuncture points, yep, we had those first). There are a bunch of different foam roller options. I recommend starting with a softer roller and progressing to a midrange one. Don’t go for the super firm options as causing pain can actually increase your body’s tension response! You can even get a collapsible travel roller. Here’s how to foam roll, and a video of a foam roller sequence for endometriosis.
    2. More exercises for improving endo pain: stretches and more stretches, fascial release techniques, tennis ball technique, pinky ball, MELT Method, Clear Passage Approach, yoga for endo, pilates for endo.
  6. Microwaveable hot pack
    1. I can’t tell you how many endo patients I’ve seen with belly and low back burns and mottled skin from too hot heating pads. Microwaveable heat pads (like this ginger infused one or this leopard print one) and hot water bottles (like this fleece wrapped rubber one or )are so much better because they start out at their hottest. You know immediately if it’s going to burn you so you can adjust (putting a shirt in between to reduce the heat, etc). Heating pads get hotter over time so you’re like a lobster in a pot of boiling water. You can burn yourself without even realizing it because you’re adjusting slowly to the heat. Stay away from heating pads! Burning yourself does NOT help your endo symptoms. Plus, the EMF emitted by electronic items isn’t great for your reproductive organs (don’t put your laptop on your belly or carry your phone in your front pocket either for this reason!).
    2. Check out these stick-on disposable heat packs too!
  7. Nausea relief
    1. Extra strength ginger, like in Dramamine natural, I find even more effective than regular Dramamine, and without side effects. Ginger chews can also work well, but I recommend staying away from sugar which can cause endo belly flare ups and inflammation (aka more pain)! Sea bands stimulate PC6, an acupuncture point for nausea, and are a totally natural way to prevent nausea. You can wear them all day.
  8. Enzymes
    1. Taking enzymes with meals can reduce nausea, ‘endo belly’, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea, and allow you to digest foods that you otherwise would react to. I carry Enteromend in my office for this purpose.
    2. You can also take enzymes between meals to help digest scar tissue and adhesions. I carry Serramend in my office for this purpose.
  9. Crystal wand
    1. If you have chronic pelvic pain, pain with penetrative sex, pain with urination, pain with bowel movements, and/or referred pain (to your belly button, inner thighs, etc), you likely have pelvic floor tension that can be improved with a crystal wand or pelvic wand, . When we feel pain, we tense up around it to protect the area. This is great if we have an acute injury that needs protecting. Unfortunately, with chronic pain, we just keep tensing up and tensing up over time without ever relaxing our muscles, which actually just creates more pain. A crystal wand helps release pelvic floor ‘knots’ via the vagina and/or anus. It can be painful at first, so I recommend starting slow, working on one spot at a time, rather than overwhelming yourself and creating more pain (and therefore more tension). Here’s how to do it. If you have too much pain to use a crystal wand, you can start with vaginal dilators, which are more gentle. Pelvic relaxation breathing exercises are also excellent for this.
    2. To learn how to do this properly, and get even more tips personalized to your body, visit a Pelvic PT. Lisa Thompson PT, at Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center in Berkeley, CA is trans competent.
  10. Leggings that look like pants, and other endo-friendly clothing
    1. I personally love paperbag pants for this. My other favs: travel stretch pants, dressy sweatpants, eco-friendly stretch pants, wrap dresses, and wrap sweater dresses. My Chronic Style makes clothing specifically for endometriosis and pelvic pain! For men’s styles, check out these dressy men’s sweatpants and this list of comfortable men’s pants. Tips for choosing endo friendly clothing, and more endo-friendly options. How clothes can help you feel better about your endo body.

Schedule an appointment to learn more about managing your endometriosis and living pain-free! Call 510-394-2743 or schedule online.

This information is for educational purposes only, please consult a healthcare provider before exercising and always follow your surgeon’s advice.

All Prism Blog Posts, Endometriosis, Self Care for Trans Health, Surgical Recovery & Scars

How My Endometriosis Has Made Me A Better Provider for Trans Patients

I began my acupuncture studies wanting to focus in queer health, and this continues to be the focus of my practice. Having experienced my share of discrimination from healthcare providers–mainly from gynecologists–due to my sexuality and gender identities of my partners, I wanted to be able to serve my community better. I knew that my trans loved ones had faced even worse discrimination and ineffective care.

Because of my experience with horrible cramps, super irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, and month-long pelvic pain; menstrual health and hormone regulation were immediately interesting to me. I had experienced so much homophobia, and also just straight up dismissiveness, from gynecologists that prevented me from getting a diagnosis or the care I needed. I wanted to create a space for my patients who were dealing with similar problems, both in terms of symptoms and in terms of discrimination from the healthcare system.

I’ve done so much research in this area in order to have answers for my patients: what their options are, what to expect, how I can help, what they can do at home. I wanted to create a space where patients could come and know they would be heard, understood, and cared for. I wanted to be able to support all of my patients with reproductive and sexual health and hormone regulation, regardless of their gender identities or if they were medically transitioning. I sometimes think that the most important thing I do for my patients is simply be there, seeing them, listening to them, and understanding where they’re coming from. Simply creating a safe space is probably the most important thing my practice does.

After I had my surgery, which confirmed my diagnosis of endometriosis, I learned how difficult recovering from surgery can be, and how supportive acupuncture can be of that process. Because of this, and everything I subsequently researched and learned, my practice has evolved towards having a specific focus on supporting patients through gender affirming surgeries. Acupuncture is so helpful for reducing pain and swelling after surgery, easing constipation, promoting healing, reducing scar tissue, and improving function and sensation. Especially as most surgeons don’t do follow up with their patients, providing post-surgical care can have a huge impact on patient recovery times and making sure that you’re on track with your healing.

Through my extensive research on endometriosis, I also learned more about pelvic pain and pelvic health. All that I’ve learned is applicable not only to cisgender women with endometriosis, but to everyone with a pelvis. So many things in our lives can impact our pelvic floors, potentially causing serious pelvic pain, pain with bowel movements, pain with penetrative sex, pain with urination, pain with sitting, and more. Pelvic health after vaginoplasty, metoidioplasty, and phalloplasty is especially important. Working on the pelvic floor before and after these surgeries can do wonders for increasing function and sensation, reducing scar tissue and pain, and speeding healing.

I also learned that it’s not only cisgender women who have endometriosis. Trans men, of course can have endo as well, and it can even persist after they start taking testosterone and stop having periods. It can even persist after hysterectomy, especially if the ovaries are not removed, but even if they are removed endometrial implants may still be present and can respond to low levels of estrogen that are naturally produced by the adrenal glands (connected to the kidneys, present in every sex, and not removed during gender affirming surgery). Plus, we now know that cisgender men can have endometriosis. Studies of cisgender men undergoing estrogen therapy for prostate cancer have shown several cases of endometriosis, likely caused by the estrogen they were taking (read Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain, by Abby Norman, for more on this). This implies that trans women, too, can have endometriosis, especially if they are taking estrogen. This is not just a menstrual disease and it’s not just a women’s disease. It’s a disease that can potentially effect everyone and every provider should know how to diagnose and treat it.

I think it’s natural that my health and my practice should be intertwined. I’m constantly learning and researching about my own health, and constantly learning and researching for my patients. All of this information builds on itself and my empathy for patient’s suffering and experiences in the medical system make me a better practitioner. I’m especially grateful to have such an amazing lineage of medicine backing me up. The best thing about acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is that, even for chronic incurable diseases, there’s always something you can do to make someone’s life better. There’s always something we can do to help our patients live happier, healthier lives.

Acupuncture is a holistic medicine. Even if I’m just supporting patients through surgery, I’m still addressing their overall health. Even if I’m just supporting a patient’s hormones as they start hormone therapy, I’m still keeping them in balance with what healthy means for their bodies at that particular point in time. It is a holistic system, tailored to a patient’s constitution and that’s why it works so well. We don’t just throw the same treatment at every patient with the same condition. Everyone’s healing plan is unique, just like each person is unique.

At Prism, we don’t make assumptions about what ‘healthy’ means for your body. We don’t expect your body to be any certain way based on your identity or how you look or your name or pronoun. We see you for who you are, listen to what you feel your body needs, and do our darndest to come up with solutions that will work for  you, to help you get your life back!

Ready to schedule a free consultation? Call 510-394-2743 or head over to our appointments page.

This information is for educational purposes only, please consult a healthcare provider before exercising and always follow your surgeon’s advice.

How LGBT Inclusion Can Grow Your Acupuncture Practice
All Prism Blog Posts, LGBT Inclusion For Providers, Self Care for Trans Health

Free Webinar for Practitioners!

Did you miss last weekend’s free Gender 101 webinar for practitioners?

You can still catch the replay!

I am so honored to have participated in Lhasa OMS, CSOMA, and Smarty Practice’s ‘Love Your Practice’ digital summit last weekend, where I led a 1-hour training on ‘How LGBT-Inclusion Can Grow Your Patient Base.’ We reached 900 people!

Check out the replay online.

Creating an LGBT-Inclusive Practice Can Grow Your Patient Base

Katrina Hanson, L.Ac. – Prism Integrative Acupuncture

Click here.

Want to learn more?

Check out my upcoming 4-credit CEU class (CA pending): The LGBT-Inclusion Toolkit, Upgrade Your Acupuncture Practice.

Find out more:

Four queer patients of color, including masculine of center nonbinary transgender patients and trans men
All Prism Blog Posts, Self Care for Trans Health, Surgical Recovery & Scars

Six Steps to More Comfortable Binding: Part One of Six

Guest blog from Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic

According to a Health Impact Study published in the Culture, Health, and Sexuality Journal, 97% of people who wear a binder experience uncomfortable side effects such as neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and trouble breathing.

Other than limiting the time you spend in a binder, changing/washing your binder often, and avoiding unsafe compression methods such as duct tape and ACE bandages, there are several steps you an take to decrease the discomforts associated with binding.

This collection of tips comes both from my personal experience wearing binders as well as my clinical experience in treating the musculoskeletal complaints that my clients experience from binding.

  1. Practice daily movement and stretching

Increasing circulation and stretching key muscles in your body can help release some of the tightness that builds up from the daily postural stress associated with binding.

One possible routine would start with five minutes of movement of your choice (walking, dancing, jumping jacks, etc) to increase general blood flow to your muscles.

Then spend 30-60 seconds performing each of the following stretches:

  • Trapezius muscles:
    • From a seated or standing position, tilt your right ear towards your right shoulder, imagining your neck growing long towards the sky before settling into the tilt.
    • This should bring a stretching sensation into your left neck muscles and trap muscles (the chronically tight muscle between your head and your shoulder.
    • If you want more of a stretch, you can reach up with your right hand and gently apply a bit of overpressure, being careful not to crunch your head down, but instead allowing more length in your neck.
  • Pectoralis minor muscle:
    • Find a doorway you can walk through.
    • Bring your right arm up and out to your side like a goalpost
    • Then place your right elbow and right wrist against the doorframe.
    • Your elbow should be level with your shoulder.
    • Slowly lean your torso forward into the door opening while keeping your elbow and wrist in contact with the doorframe.
    • If this stretch creates any pinching sensation in your shoulder, you can alternatively lie atop a foam roller placed vertically along your spine (head and hips supported) and drop your arms out to the sides.
  • Side stretch:
    • Reach your arms overhead if that is available to you, or plant your hands on your hips.
    • On your inhale, reach and lean upwards and over to your left side.
    • If your arms are overhead you may want to grasp your right wrist with your left hand.
    • You should feel a stretch along the right side of your body through your ribcage.
  • Cobra stretch:
    • lying face-down, place your hands under your shoulders with your palms down and fingers pointing forwards.
    • Draw your elbows back and in towards your sides so your shoulders won’t hunch up by your ears.
    • Then press up gently until you feel a generalized stretch through the front of your chest and abdomen.

Look out for next week’s post for tip #2!

The stretches, self-muscle work, and strengthening exercises are from my full core and glutes strengthening program available for purchase at And if you are interested in exploring muscle-work or joint adjusting to alleviate your muscle and joint pain, you can find out more about my practice at

In happiness and health,

Dr. Sandy Baird, DC

Oakland Chiropractor Sandy Baird


I’m Dr. Sandy Baird, DC. I’ve been providing bodywork in the Bay Area for over ten years now. First as a massage therapist, and now as a doctor who combines soft tissue work with joint adjusting. I feel that it’s important for queers to have a safe space to have their bodies worked on. Many of us already shoulder a lot of extra stress and tension from being constantly judged, worrying about what bathrooms we should use, and having to actively resist and fight back for our rights as our new state of “normal”.

Health impact of chest binding among transgender adults: a community-engaged, cross-sectional study:


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our free hormone health mini e-course.

Sandy Baird DC of Riverstone Chiropractic
All Prism Blog Posts

Featured on Acupuncture and Post-Surgical Care

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to share my newest article, which was featured on (my favorite—and LGBTQ-focused!—chiropractor). Click to read more.

“In Chinese medicine, surgery is considered to block the flow of the meridians (similar to nerve and blood vessel damage in Western medicine). Improperly healed scars and old scar tissue can have the same effect, potentially causing pain, sensation loss, decreased circulation, and even impaired internal organ function depending on the depth of the scar tissue. Acupuncture as soon as possible after surgery helps to promote healing, reduce pain, swelling, and bruising, and prevent scar tissue from forming. Once the bandages are removed, scars can be worked on directly to prevent adhesions and reduce the appearance of scars. Cupping massage is also used to treat surgical scarring and adhesions to underlying tissues, and moxa can be used for post-surgical pain as well as reducing scars…

Surgical scars that are at least two weeks old can be worked on with acupuncture. Such treatments not only reduce scar pain, but also help to break up scar tissue and adhesions, increase local circulation, and aid healing. This leads to less noticeable scars and a reduction in keloiding. Scars may not only be cosmetically undesirable, but may also have an impact on health…”

Click to read more.

All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.


a rainbow, symbolizing Prism Integrative Acupuncture's commitment to LGBT health
All Prism Blog Posts, Self Care for Trans Health

Chinese Medicine, Natural Transition, and the Gender Binary

Chinese Medicine, Natural Transition, and the Gender Binary. A guest post on Tynan Rhea’s website (founder of

A few excerpts:

Yin and yang are often associated with female and male energy respectively, which leads to the misconception that Chinese Medicine is inherently binary and therefore inappropriate for trans medicine. It is true that most diagnoses in Chinese medicine refer to the interaction between opposites: hot and cold, internal and external, excess and deficient, yin and yang, among others. However, yin and yang, though often associated with male and female energy, are more accurately represented by masculine and feminine.

The great thing about Chinese Medicine is that we always work from a constitutional root. We look at the person’s tongue and feel their pulse to identify the root of a person’s pattern and work on that as well as the symptoms. The goal is always to bring the patient into alignment with their constitution, not to change them based on societal expectations of their sex and what their hormone profile will look like.

I see many trans men pre-testosterone present as yang (testosterone) deficient and many trans women pre-estrogen present as yin (estrogen/progesterone) deficient. Treatment in this case affirms their identity and assists their transition. Once folks have been on hormones for a while, sometimes testosterone depletes yin and spironolactone (a testosterone-blocker) depletes yang. In this case, it is appropriate to tonify the depleted energy to bring the person back into balance. This does not in any way counteract their transition, it gently balances and keeps them healthy and aligned with their constitutions. Similarly, an intersex person with yin deficiency would be treated differently than an intersex person with yang deficiency, regardless of their chromosomes or type of intersex diagnosis.

Read more

All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.



Supplements to support trans men while taking testosterone, including liver and cardiovascular heart health
All Prism Blog Posts, Endometriosis, LGBT Inclusion For Providers, Self Care for Trans Health, Surgical Recovery & Scars

Supplements for Surgery

Supplements and Surgery:

You most likely know already that there are certain supplements and medications that you should avoid before surgery. Mostly these are supplements and medications that can cause excess bleeding, as well as those that can interfere with the anesthesia.

Surgeons’ opinions vary on which medications and supplements are okay and when to stop taking them. You should follow your surgeon’s recommendations to the letter. These suggestions will likely be more conservative than the ones you receive from your surgeon, because in holistic healthcare, we are interested in helping you achieve optimal health, not just the absence of disease. You can choose to follow these recommendations only if they fit with your surgeon’s recommendations as well. Do not take any supplements or herbs which you know you are allergic or sensitive to or which your doctor or surgeon has told you to avoid.

What to Avoid Before Surgery:

It is most important to avoid potential blood thinners for at least 7 days before and 3 days after surgery. Your surgeon may tell you to avoid them for even longer, depending on the type of surgery you are having. This includes any prescription blood thinners as well as garlic, ginkgo, vitamin E, fish oil/omega 3, and aspirin, ibuprofen, aleve, and other NSAIDs.

Some surgeons may also recommend that you avoid St. John’s Wort, dong quai/dang gui/angelica, feverfew, goldenseal, ginseng, ginger supplements, saw palmetto, reishi, echinacea, ephedra/ma huang, kava, licorice, and valerian for 7 days before and 3 days after surgery, as these can cause excess bleeding.

I tend to err on the side of caution, stopping all herbs and supplements (and any medications your surgeon tells you to avoid) 7 days before surgery.

Most surgeons say that tylenol is okay to take before surgery as needed, but don’t take it if you can avoid it since tylenol can be hard on the liver and your liver is already going to be stressed by the anesthesia. Check with your surgeon when deciding what to take.

Ideally, avoid alcohol, tylenol, and anything else that is hard on your liver 1 month before and after surgery to allow your body to safely process the anesthesia. This obviously does not apply if your surgeon prescribes or recommends tylenol before or after surgery.

Get plenty of sleep, exercise, stay hydrated, and avoid sugar (to keep your immune system healthy) in the month before surgery, and always!

Before Surgery Supplements:

There are certain supplements that can help you recover faster from surgery and risk less side effects. It is helpful to start taking these at least one month before surgery. Do not take any supplements that your surgeon does not approve and remember to stop your supplements one week before surgery.

Starting one month before surgery:
A multivitamin with 25-50mg of B vitamin complex
50 mg CoQ10/day: reduces stress of surgery on heart, improves recovery
500-1000mg/day vitamin C: necessary for wound healing, helps your body produce collagen
Milk thistle: detoxes the liver to prepare for successful anesthesia
2000-5000 IU vitamin D/day with food if not already included in your multivitamin

Starting 2 weeks before surgery, add:
30-50mg zinc picolinate/day with food: necessary for wound healing
Probiotic blend with acidophilis and bifida: reduces risk of post-surgical infection


After Surgery

After surgery, start off with broths, including bone broth, fresh juices, soups, and other easy to digest foods like oatmeal. Green drinks and whole food based protein shakes are also great when you’re not up for eating real foods yet. Stay away from sugary drinks like gatorade and pedialyte, starches, breads, and crackers, as they can deplete your immune system and cause constipation.

After Surgery Supplements

As long as your surgeon says it’s okay, take 1000mg vitamin C as soon as you get home from the hospital and continue daily. Vitamin C is necessary for wound healing, helps your body produce collagen, and helps your liver break down the anesthetic.

Some surgeons will recommend waiting a few days before restarting supplements and herbs. As long as your surgeon says it’s okay, the day after surgery, start taking Resinall E from Health Concerns (three tablets three times per day, available by prescription from Prism) or 1000-1500 mg standardized bromelain 3x/day on an empty stomach. This helps speed recovery and reduce swelling and bruising. It is mandatory to take it on an empty stomach, otherwise it will just help digest your food but not have any effect on swelling and bruising.

Starting 3 days after surgery, add:
250mg B6 2x/day (or substitute your multivitamin if it contains B6): reduces swelling
100-200mg CoQ10/day: reduces stress of surgery on heart, improves recovery
Milk thistle: detoxes anesthesia from the liver
30-50mg zinc picolinate/day with food: necessary for wound healing
Probiotic blend with acidophilis and bifida: reduces risk of post-surgical infection
2000-3000mg omega 3 per day: reduces inflammation and improves circulation
Arnica 30C 4-5x/day: reduces pain, bruising, and swelling
2000-5000 IU vitamin D/day with food


After one week post-surgery:
You can stop the B6/multivitamin, unless this is part of your regular supplement regimen

After two weeks post-surgery, you can stop taking:
Vitamin C or return to your usual dose
Lower your fish oil/omega 3 dose to 500-1000mg/day

One month post-surgery:
You are done with this supplement plan! Return to you regular supplements and herbs as recommended by your acupuncturist and doctors.

Happy healing :)

All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.


video screenshot of Katrina Hanson LAc talking about how acupuncture can help the LGBTQ community
All Prism Blog Posts, LGBT Inclusion For Providers, Prism in the Press, Self Care for Trans Health

Acupuncture and Trans Medicine

Just a little throwback to this video about my gender-inclusivity activism at my alma mater, the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College (AIMC) Berkeley. It’s so wonderful to reflect on how much my practice and my knowledge has evolved; all with the support of my wonderful patients. This has been a long process and I’m looking forward to continuing the journey with all of you!

All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

Katrina Hanson LAc of Prism Integrative Acupuncture, a lesbian queer acupuncturist in Oakland, Bay Area, California
All Prism Blog Posts

The Story Behind Prism

The story behind the name:

I created Prism Integrative Acupuncture to fulfill a community need for transgender-inclusive, integrative hormone care. I focus in transgender wellness, but also in fertility, menopause, and other hormone-related issues. So, in thinking of a name, I wanted something that was at once clearly LGBTQ inclusive, but not exclusive to everyone else.

I like ‘Prism’ because it not only brings up a visual of a rainbow, and thus flags queer inclusive, but it also implies multifaceted-ness. One stream of light through a prism can create an entire rainbow.

I like this image both in reference to identity as a prism, but also to healing as a prism; a multifaceted, integrative process. I don’t just do acupuncture in my practice. I also prescribe herbs, discuss nutrition and lifestyle, supplements, interpret lab results, and confer with a patient’s western providers. Holistic medicine to me is not natural medicine only, it is integrative, it incorporates everything that can help a person so you can get the most well-rounded and effective care possible.


My story:

I’ve been passionate about herbal medicine for as long as I can remember; likely the result of being raised by a botanist with a deep love of plants. This passion sparked my interest in the holistic health field and was enough to get me interested in starting AIMC Berkeley’s rigorous 4-year Master of Science acupuncture program, where I could study not only the herbs I love but also acupuncture and so many other amazing healing modalities. Through the clinical program at AIMC Berkeley, I interned at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and San Francisco’s Homeless Prenatal Program, as well as at AIMC’s school clinic, which allowed me to practice acupuncture in a variety of environments and with a broad spectrum of patients.

I went into the program with the intention of focusing in LGBTQ medicine, and this continues to be a driving focus of my practice, in addition to my specialty in hormone regulation. I love guiding patients through times of hormonal upheaval, allowing them to stay grounded despite the emotional turmoil that often accompanies times of illness. My favorite part of my job is watching people regain ownership of their healing process, reconnect with their bodies, and make positive changes in their lives.

In addition to maintaining a private practice, I am also a guest lecturer at AIMC Berkeley, teaching students about supporting transgender health and creating an LGBTQ-friendly practice, as part of their Masters curriculum. In my spare time, you can find me hiking or camping with my partner and our dogs.

Katrina Hanson MSOM DiplOM LAc
Founder, Owner, Acupuncturist

All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

a trans knowledgeable doctor talks to a trans patient
All Prism Blog Posts, Self Care for Trans Health

Transgender HRT: What are my options?

We ALL have the same hormones, just in different amounts and we USE different amounts of them too. Furthermore, we can change how our bodies use the hormones we already have. Every body makes progesterone from cholesterol, and that progesterone can turn into estrogen OR testosterone. The estrogen and testosterone in our bodies can also convert back and forth (estrogen to testosterone and vice versa). This is the reason you want to get your hormone dosages right: if you take too much, your body is just going to convert it into another hormone to maintain balance in your system. This could actually counter the desired effects of the hormone you are taking: too much estrogen in your system and your body will start converting it to testosterone, counteracting the changes you want to make.

Coming up with a plan for your body: There are many different options for transitioning, even when just using synthetic hormones. Most commonly, estrogen and spironolactone (a testosterone-blocker) are prescribed for trans women, and testosterone is prescribed for trans men. Testosterone is generally available in injectable or topical form, and estrogen is most commonly used in injectible form, though it is also available in pill form.
However, there are many other options as well. Progesterone helps to build tissue and can often be useful for developing breasts (used internally or externally with estrogen) or muscle tissue (used internally with testosterone). It can also help even out the emotions, preventing ups and downs that estrogen and testosterone can cause, as well as reducing side effects like bloating and water retention.
Aromatase is what turns testosterone into estrogen, so you can take extra aromatase instead of (or in addition to) taking estrogen. Likewise, you can take aromatase inhibitor to prevent that testosterone from turning into estrogen, instead of taking testosterone. There are many options for prescription hormones; it’s important to talk to your doctor about what will work best for your body.

All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

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The Three-Part Recipe for Natural Transitioning

What does natural transition mean?

In contrast to using prescription hormones and/or surgeries, natural transition usually involves some combination of social transition, presentation transition, herbs, acupuncture, and/or nutrition.

Herbs: Herbs are a desired alternative to HRT for many people who wish to experience only mild changes, rather than the more drastic effects of prescription hormones. Herbs alone may cause slight breast growth (feminizing herbs), or slight facial hair growth (masculinizing herbs). They can also be used to reduce hair loss, ease pain from binding and gaffing, and much more.
For most people, herbs aren’t going to change your hormones drastically alone, so someone might choose to start out taking synthetic hormones and, once they’ve achieved the effect they want, use herbs to lower their dose of synthetic hormones or switch to herbs entirely. Herbs can maintain the hormone levels and characteristics you’ve built up with synthetic hormones. This is a good alternative to the sometimes unpleasant side effects of long-term synthetic hormone use.
Herbs are also great at reducing side effects of prescriptions hormones, like hot flashes, acne, hair loss, vaginal dryness, blood pressure imbalance, edema and bloating, and many other effects.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is most well known for its effects of reducing pain and speeding healing. It is in fact great for reducing chest tightness, back pain, and skin lesions from binding and gaffing, as well as reducing pain and swelling and speeding healing after surgeries. Acupuncture can also be used to reduce the appearance of scars, including keloid scars, improve circulation to reduce the chance of blood clots and edema, and regulate blood pressure. It also soothes anxiety and depression, improves sleep and digestion, and generally aids your overall well-being.

Nutrition: Foods alone won’t cause notable changes, no matter how strict of a diet you follow. However, certain foods do have the ability to change our hormone profiles, most notably those that are estrogenic. By increasing or decreasing estrogenic foods in your diet, as well as by eating a balanced diet aimed at encouraging detox and flushing out of other hormones, nutrition can be an important part of your transition plan.

All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.


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20+ Ways Acupuncture Supports Transgender Wellness

Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture have thousands of years of experience in dealing with hot flashes, low libido, erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, menstrual spotting, and hair loss, among other symptoms. Many of these treatments can be applied to transgender care, to complement hormone therapy during transition. Additionally, acupuncture has been shown to greatly reduce recovery time from surgery and help with post-surgical problems such as lack of sensation and scarring. Acupuncture and herbs can be used to stimulate hair regrowth, stop uterine spotting, and ease side effects of prescription hormones. We happily work with MDs, surgeons, and other healthcare providers to give you the most well-rounded care possible.

Acupuncture and herbs may help to:

  • Ease menstrual, uterine, post-hysterectomy, and ‘psychosomatic’ cramps
  • Reduce PMS/PMDD and cyclical bloating
  • Reduce spotting and breakthrough bleeding
  • Ease symptoms of endometriosis and fibroids
  • Soothe vaginal dryness and atrophy
  • Ease candida/yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • Reduce pain with sex and increase orgasmic capacity
  • Improve fertility, and help restore fertility post-T
  • Improve prostate health and reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Increase erectile capacity
  • Balance hormones to soothe ups and downs
  • Speed effects of pharmaceutical hormones
  • Reduce hot flashes and night sweats
  • Reduce post-surgical pain, speed healing, and reduce scarring
  • Reduce compression pain, chest tightness, and skin lesions from binding and gaffing
  • Improve circulation to prevent blood clots
  • Reduce edema and water weight
  • Regulate low and high blood pressure
  • Reduce and restore hair loss
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Improve sleep
  • Benefit memory and concentration
  • Reduce stress and soothe anxiety
  • Lift depression
  • Boost your immune system to keep you healthy through the seasons

    All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

    Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

    Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

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All Prism Blog Posts, Self Care for Trans Health

Herbal Trio for Breast Development

Trans women can use herbal estrogens and progesterones with a medical provider to:

  • if you don’t want to use hormones or undergo surgery, but still want to create physical changes in your body.
  • after being on synthetic hormones for many years to maintain the changes that you have made without the side effects of continued synthetic hormone use.
  • to compliment your synthetic hormone regimen.

These are my top three favorite herbs focusing on breast tissue development. They can be taken all together or individually, following the instructions of your healthcare provider and directions for dosage on the bottle.

You can expect it to take at least a month to notice any changes, which will likely start with breast tenderness, swelling under the nipple, or slight areola growth. Understand that changes will not increase as fast or dramatically as with synthetic hormones, but nonetheless herbal estrogens and progesterones are a desirable alternative for many people.

If you are taking synthetic estrogens, eliminate the hops from this regimen as it can increase systemic estrogen levels.This trio of herbs may also be used to maintain breast growth created by synthetic hormones if you want to stop taking hormones, though you should always get your hormone levels checked regularly by your healthcare provider to make sure you are maintaining your desired levels.

Herbal Trio for Breast Development:

  • Hops
    • Hops have 0.2-20% the potency of estradiol and can increase estrogen levels in the body.
    • It is commonly used to increase lactation as it acts on the milk ducts of the breast. It may have a side effect of lactation in some people.
  • Maca
    • Maca is known for its effects of creating curves, and is fairly inexpensive.
    • It is known for its aphrodisiac effects, and can increase erectile capacity, stamina, and sperm counts -which may either be viewed as extra benefits or side effects depending on your goals.
    • It also boosts the immune system and helps combat osteoporosis.
  • Fenugreek
    • Fenugreek/Hu Lu Ba (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds contain a compound (diosgenin) that’s estrogenic and promotes breast tissue growth.
    • Sprouted seeds contain much more diosgenin than the unsprouted seeds, so breast enlargement is more noticeable if you sprout the seeds first.

Taking your herbs:

  • Be cautious of interactions with other herbs, supplements, and medications you’re taking! Herbs are safe when used correctly, but can have dangerous interactions if you use them carelessly.
  • You can take these herbs all at once if that is easier for you to remember.
    • However, because maca increases energy and hops have a mild sedative effect, you might try taking maca in the morning and hops before bed.
  • Where you get your herbs has a major influence on their effectiveness. Some herb companies have much higher quality standards and produce a stronger product with less additives. Any of these brands are good options to look into further:
    • Gaia and Herb Pharm both have great quality herbs in a variety of options: Hops, Maca, and Fenugreek.
    • My Evanesce has several herbal blends, most of which have many unnecessary added ingredients, but their Feminol product has a more useful blend of dong quai, black cohosh, chaste tree, white kwao krua, fennel, fenugreek, licorice, kudzu, sarsaparilla, boron, plus b6, d3, and b12. They recommend taking all of their formulations at once which is not only completely unnecessary as they mostly contain the same ingredients but also could lead to dangerous dosages of the herbs. Do not do this and do your own research!
    • If you take synthetic hormones (or other medications), you could take your fenugreek as part of their liver cleanse combo to support your liver.

All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

For more herbal estrogens, ideas, and resources see my previous posts: Feminizing Herbs and “The Basics.”