Maybe you’ve been living with menstrual pain for a long time, ever since your first period. Maybe it feels like professionals you’ve spoken with treat your pain as “normal,” or are not sure what to offer you beyond pain medication or hormonal birth control.

Period pain should not be debilitating. It should not make you vomit. It should not be so painful that it makes you cry.

I can tell you that acupuncture and Chinese medicine are exceptionally effective in treating menstrual pain and cycles that are prolonged (over 32 days between periods), shortened (under 26 days between periods), or all-around irregular.

I highly recommend that anyone with a uterus use a period tracking app on their phone, if possible, to help you get a bigger picture of what is happening across multiple months. Even if you do not have painful symptoms, tracking will make you more prepared to get your period and will give you an estimated window of ovulation. Being aware of your ovulation window empowers you to make more conscious decisions about getting pregnant or not getting pregnant. (Keep in mind, it takes multiple months of tracking to get a reliable ovulation window prediction.)

Globally, not enough concern is given to health surrounding menstruation and those who speak out about the subject may be silenced, even in academic settings.

If you have all but given up and feel like you have to live with a high level of pain at least once a month, please consider acupuncture and Chinese medicine. I would be happy to answer any of your questions, and if you’re not local to #Ithaca or #TompkinsCounty, I will help you find a practitioner in your area who can work with you to greatly improve your quality of life.

Megan Bell Mirshahi, L.Ac., MSACM

Hi everyone! We look forward to seeing you in our office again. For the foreseeable future, Ithaca Health and Wellness will be implementing new clinic protocol:

  • Until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed and becomes accessible, please let us know in advance if you begin experiencing any respiratory symptoms so we may reschedule your appointment. Megan is available for herbal therapy and qigong consults remotely if you are seeking care for respiratory illness. Testing is available at Cayuga Health’s location at the Shops at Ithaca Mall.
  • There will be no more than 3 people (2 practitioners, 1 patient) in the clinic at one time. No more than 2 people will occupy a room at a given time.
  • Everyone entering Ithaca Health and Wellness is required to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth. All personal protective equipment is disposed of between patients to avoid any possible contamination.
  • Please let us know in advance if you do not have a clean face covering and we will provide you with a sterile, single use face mask.
  • There will be a minimum of 45 minutes between patient appointments. In this time, all frequently touched equipment and all surfaces will be disinfected (door handles, face cradles, massage tables, etc.).
  • We ask all patients to please wash their hands in one of the nearby restrooms before entering the office. We will provide hand sanitizer in office.

In response to recommended best practices in New York state, we are also adjusting our hours until further notice. Dr. Kam will be taking patients by appointment only. Megan will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10AM-12PM, 2PM-7PM and Wednesdays 10AM-1PM. Please schedule via e-mail or phone (607)-218-2639.

We ask, with new constraints limiting our ability to treat more patients, that you please be mindful of arriving to your appointment on time. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you need to reschedule; we understand.

We have missed all of you and are excited to provide you with care once more!

Hi everyone–

As per Governor Cuomo’s most recent order, our clinic will remained closed until our collective situation changes. We tentatively hope to be available for homecare starting May 1st, and/or to be able to open up our clinic in South Hills Business Campus once more. Our priority is public health and protecting the most vulnerable.

Once we are able to open the clinic again, we will be implementing some new procedures given the COVID-19 pandemic:
– wearing sterile, disposable face masks and nitrile gloves which will be changed between each patient,
– disinfecting all surfaces in both the waiting room and treatment rooms between all patients,
– we will not be scheduling any overlapping patients and will be ensuring time between each patient appointment to allow for disinfecting,
– we will be providing PPE for in-office use to any patient who desires it,
– and, for the time being, we ask that patients with signs of respiratory illness do not schedule in-person with us. Instead, those with respiratory symptoms are strongly encouraged to schedule an herbal therapy telemedicine appointment with Megan (you can schedule an appointment here).

It deeply saddens us to simply not know when we will be able to see our patients again. We will continue to provide you with preventive care solutions you can perform for yourself or your loved ones at home.

As always, please get in touch with any questions you may have.

Ithaca Health and Wellness

Hi everyone.

As many of you know, Kamran and I were out of town the past week and half. Since we spent time in public places in Los Angeles, we are now self-isolating as much as possible and encourage you to isolate as much as possible.

Despite not presenting with any symptoms thus far, in the interest of public safety we have chosen to close our clinic until April 1st. If you have an appointment scheduled between now and then, we will be in touch with you to reschedule if you have not already been contacted.

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns regarding the virus or how viral disease spreads. There is a lot of false information circulating on social media right now, and we consider patient education an essential component of what we do.

There are TWO strains of this particular virus, which is why it is possible to get “reinfected.” This makes social distancing particularly important. As of today, according to the CDC, Washington state and New York state have the most reported cases of COVID-19.

Please stay safe during this time of uncertainty. If you are of generally good health, please consider yourself a potential carrier of the virus and change your behavior to avoid transmitting the disease to others. You never know who around you has compromised immunity.

Take a deep breath. Try to get outside as much as possible and look away from your screens. We must cooperate to get through this.


Miao miao! 🐱
 I always say DON’T FEAR THE NEEDLE! Here’s why—

Acupuncture needles used in Western practice today are sterile, single-use filiform needles– meaning they aren’t hollow and instead of cutting the skin like beveled needles, they spread the tissue. They are more comparable in size (thickness/diameter) to a cat’s whisker than to needles used in any other medical procedure.

I will be offering a fabulous special over the next couple months for FACIAL REJUVENATION treatments. Do you want to reduce fine lines and wrinkles without impairing your ability to express emotion…? 🙅 Chinese medicine can help you, and while we work on cosmetic concerns, we will simultaneously be promoting systemic healing.

Have Botox injections ever helped your digestion, sleep, and overall energy? 😉 You will be amazed at the other health benefits you experience as a result of your cosmetic treatment.

📣📣 I am working to build a visual portfolio of skin changes over time, so get in touch with me ASAP to be a part of this limited time offer. I guarantee you won’t be able to find this service for a comparable price. Don’t sleep on it. 📣📣
As always, e-mail, call, or text me with any questions! (607)-218-2639


I ask all of my cis female patients about their menses, and if they are using a period tracker app or another similar tracking method. Tracking your period is useful for many reasons (whether you have issues surrounding menstruation, or you are tracking to plan or avoid pregnancy) and the information you collect from tracking helps me gain a deeper understanding of what is going on in your body week to week. Day one of your cycle is your first day of bleeding; the entire length of your cycle begins when you first bleed and lasts until the next time.

Phase 1- Menstruation phase. This generally lasts 3-5 days. If your menstruation phase lasts longer or shorter than this, it will be one area where we work on cycle regulation. You bleed because the endometrial lining of your uterus is being sloughed off, because last month a fertilized egg failed to be implanted in the uterine lining. During this time, your pituitary gland is simultaneously producing more FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) so your body produces new follicles (can be thought of as ‘pre-eggs’). Avoid vigorous exercise at this time. Since this phase is a sign that you are not currently pregnant, my treatment principle will focus on invigorating qi and blood in order to reduce menstrual cramping and ensure the uterine lining is fully sloughed off. Time to start fresh!

Phase 2- Follicular phase. This is the time period which lasts from right
after you bleed, up until when you ovulate. A follicle becomes dominant and begins producing higher amounts of estrogen. Uterine lining thickens and cervical mucosa thickens, so at this time you may experience some slight vaginal discharge (healthy and normal). You may feel more outgoing and creative at this time—allow yourself to make connections, start new projects, exercise and have more sex. My treatment strategy during this phase focuses primarily on building healthy yin substance, which will make up the new tissue and blood needing to sustain a pregnancy, while subtly boosting yang to promote the growth of a dominant follicle at this time.

Phase 3- Ovulatory phase. Although ovulation is generally considered to be a window of 12 to 48 hours (which can often cause significant stress on both woman and man who are trying to conceive), the window for conception can extend beyond that period by multiple days. An increase in cervical discharge is a good sign! Avoid eating cold substances without being careful to balance with hot/warm, cooked ingredients, and avoid raw vegetables. From an Eastern dietary perspective, cold raw foods can damage qi and yang which are essential in this phase to ensure the necessary warmth to initiate pregnancy. If you become pregnant, your basal body temperature will spike and stay higher than if you are not pregnant.

Phase 4- Luteal phase. If you are pregnant, progesterone levels stay higher, and in accordance so does your body temperature. Often, women may experience a subjective sensation of increased warmth. My treatment at this stage focuses on maintaining the warmth provided by higher levels of yang, and supporting yin to help the body maintain the new pregnancy. If you have not become pregnant, your uterine lining should NOT producing progesterone, and you may feel withdrawn, irritable, or emotional: now is an important time to be soft with yourself, avoid overexertion, and come in for some gentle bodywork.

When your focus is on fertility and becoming pregnant, it is important to be in touch with your care provider weekly (even if you are not able to make it in for treatment) to provide updates on what you are experiencing. My selection of acupuncture points and of herbal formulas will be different each week (though I will work with you to ensure this is as convenient as possible), and they always vary depending on the individual presentation.

As always, please reach out to me with any questions!


Hi everyone! Meg here, writing today about a topic which is often a great—but unnecessary—source of stress for many people: FERTILITY! To begin, I want to discuss a bit about Chinese medicine theory and how that relates to our treatment strategies in regulating the menstrual cycle and promoting fertility.

Chinese medicine is very different from Western medicine in a variety of ways, but there is one fundamental difference: Chinese medicine considers the human body in relation to nature, taking into account an individual’s living environment, interpersonal relationships, occupation, hobbies, and daily routines regarding eating and sleeping. Through observation of rhythms in the natural world, Chinese medicine practitioners provide insight and suggestions as to how to restore homeostasis (AKA balance) to internal systems (reproductive, gastrointestinal, respiratory, sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous systems). My goal is to provide you with both treatment and guidance so you may more clearly experience your body’s connection to natural cycles. Developing and understanding this connection is critical in both prevention of illness and to THRIVING in your body.

Everything comes down to the interaction of yin-yang (“yeen-yawng”), which is both expansive and simple in meaning. The taijitu symbol, made infamous in American ‘90s teen culture, was originally created as a visual representation of the sun passing over a hillside. The observer watched as the shadows and light gradually shifted and changed. Yin-yang theory is all about natural transformation. It can most easily be understood in terms of symbolizing complementary opposites which are mutually dependent upon each other while constantly being in flux. In Chinese medicine, substances and processes surrounding the body all have a quality of being either more yin or more yang.

  • Yin – associated with the feminine. More substantial. Dark. Heavy. Yielding. Still. Cool. Fall/Winter. Nighttime.
  • Yang – associated with the masculine. More energetic. Bright. Light. Outgoing. Active. Warm. Spring/Summer. Daytime.

                Everyone and everything has aspects of both yin and yang.  My job is to help restore your body to its healthy, physiological rhythm.

So I had to change my plans for attending the NMMS this weekend. This is a time of plentiful, big transitions for both Kamran and I, and I’ve been spreading myself a bit thin between a lot of demands this month. (Anyone else familiar with this?) We have two of my best friends’ wedding this weekend in Poughkeepsie– the absolutely lovely Hannah and Zach (AKA Zannah) of Thrive Acupuncture and Chiropractic near Pittsburgh, PA– which we are super pumped for! Between travelling to the wedding in the midst of the conference plus sleeping outside, I had a creeping suspicion I would fall ill if I tried to do it all… I had to take a step back, and prioritize what is most important. A hard decision for me to make, but nevertheless, I hope to attend the summit next year!!

BUT! I still have two more medicinal mushrooms of the Chinese pharmacopoeia to talk about.

Also, I wanted to share this abstract for a lit review published in 2017 in the International Review of Neurobiology, about the treatment of insomnia with Chinese medicine (herbs!). The mechanisms of our beloved Fuling (Poria cocos 茯苓) discussed in the previous post are analyzed in relation to how it promotes better sleep (in Chinese medicine, we say it has the function of calming the spirit). Now for a couple more fantastic featured fungi friends:

Dong Chong Xia Cao 冬蟲夏草 (aka Chinese cordyceps sinensis) – Technically *pushes up glasses* not a fungus! It is a medicinal substance produced by the process of a parasitic fungus growing on specific caterpillar larvae (in particular Lepidoptera Hepialus armoricanus). The fungus grows in the autumn, and the next spring/early summer the stromal tissue of the fungus develops, which is why this herb’s name translates to “winter herb, summer grass.” In the spring, it’s cultivated before it disperses its spores. In Chinese medicine, we consider this substance to be sweet in flavor, warm in nature, with the ability to gently tonify Lung and Kidney yang. It is found in formulas used to treat issues like male impotence, spermatorrhea/nocturnal emissions, chronic coughing and wheezing with phlegm and small amounts of blood, spontaneous sweating, and weak/sore low back and knees. Here’s a cool, detailed review of how Cordyceps sinensis has been used traditionally, medicinally, and a summary of current research.

Yín ěr 银耳 (aka wood ear, silver ear, snow ear, snow fungus, white jelly, Tremella fuciformis) – A wonderful food-grade medicinal! The best kind of medicinal– gentle, safe for long-term use, and easily assimilated by the body. It is sweet and bland in flavor, and neutral in nature (have you noticed how most mushrooms I’ve discussed are neutral in nature? That means they have no post-digestion body temperature effect). In cuisine, it may be served with lean pork to help recovery following a long, debilitating illness. Somewhat similarly to Dong Chong Xia Cao, it may be used to treat chronic cough with blood-streaked mucus– but in this presentation, the individual’s cough would be more dry. If you have had a dry, parched throat with a dry cough which has lasted longer than your typical cold symptoms, or if it is the last lingering symptom after mostly recovering from illness, it would be an excellent idea to experiment with cooking wood ear mushrooms! You can buy them in bulk from any local Asian market.


Hi all! This Thursday, Aug. 29 to Monday, September 2, I (Megan) will be out of the office at the 2nd annual New Moon Mycology Summit. This year’s conference will be in Thurman, NY in the beautiful Adirondack region. I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of medicinal fungi, and to learning about plant species local to our region and about cultivation.

To celebrate 5 days of camping and learning, I wanted to make a post talking about some of the medicinal mushrooms we use in the Chinese medicine pharmacopoeia. (That means if we work together to formulate an herbal treatment plan for you, some of these substances may be present in your custom formula, depending on your presentation and what we are treating!) These are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head:

Ling Zhi 霊芝 – a.k.a. ganoderma, reishi! Sweet in flavor and neutral in temperature, it acts on the Heart, Lung, and Liver organ systems. Its primary function is to calm the spirit while boosting qi and nourishing blood.

Fu Ling 茯苓 – a.k.a. poria cocos, white poria. Sweet, bland, and neutral, it acts upon the Heart, Spleen, Lung, and Kidney. It can primarily grows on pine tree roots. There are 4 layers to this fungus which may be used. Fu Ling refers to the fungus body closer to the root. Fu Shen includes the inner core of the fungus as well as the nearby fungus body; this part has more spirit-calming properties than Fu Ling. Chi Fu Ling, or red fu ling, is the part of the fungus growing closer to the outer cortex; this part of the fungus is more effective for treating hematuria (blood in the urine). Fu Ling Pi is the very outer cortex/skin of the fungus, and it is the most strongly diuretic part of the fungus. It has the strongest effect on treating edema, and less of a Spleen-supplementing ability than Fu Ling.

Zhu Ling 猪苓 – or polyporus umbellatus. Sweet, bland, and has a slight cooling effect. Primarily affecting the Spleen, Kidney, and Urinary Bladder systems, it is perhaps the best single substance to promote fluid metabolism. It is said to open the interstices of the body, which can be understood as layers between both superficial and deep tissue, including fascial regions and the mesentary.

I’ve got a couple more neat ones to write about tomorrow, so if you’re interested in plant medicine and in particular medicinal mushrooms, please check back! As always, get in touch with me with any questions or drop us a comment!!


Dr. Kam here to talk to you about High intensity interval training (HIIT) and the benefits of strength training your legs! The benefits are comparable to resistance training and endurance training combined. They are anaerobic and aerobic and focus on explosiveness and performing at 95-100% intensity. Personally I think the easiest and most fun way to do highly effective HIIT is through circuits and plyometrics.

Megan and I did high jumps as part of our circuit: single and double leg jump squats, with and without weights at varying heights. We also did leg press, squats, stability and core as part of the circuit. Other really good options you may want to include are lunges, mountain climbers, and bear-, crab-, & duck-walking. Anyways, our legs have never felt stronger!!

Strength training is most important in your legs because lower leg muscle mass is more of an indicator of longevity and health than overall muscle mass. So don’t skip leg day, folks. Skip arm day and double up on leg day!

Check out this article on leg strength and mortality rate:
“For anyone trying to live as long as possible and make the most of those years, there are three things to learn from these studies:

1. The stronger you are today, the longer you’re likely to live in the future.

2. Strength in your legs is likely a bigger predictor of future health than the amount of muscle you have overall.

3. Consuming an adequate amount of protein is key to maintaining your muscle and strength as you get older. You don’t want to consume too much protein, but you can give your body a boost on muscle retention by switching out the carbs for an extra serving of chicken or turkey whenever possible.”