Deborah Graefer, L.Ac.
Owner and Consultant
Licensed Acupuncturist, Masters
Traditional Oriental Medicine
Graduating magna cum laude from Pacific College
of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, California in 1994, with a Masters in Traditional Oriental Medicine Debbie was
licensed by the State of California in September of the same year.
Her practice is now devoted exclusively to
gallbladder and related diseases and the underlying causes including hypothyroidism, hashimotos, food intolerances,
leaky gut and toxicity, and to dietary and supplemental recommendations for the above. She helps people with weight
loss assessing the metabolic problems on an individual basis. Although weight loss kits are available on the site,
her preference is to work one-on-one to find problems with metabolism, from lack of fat digestion, slow bile flow,
stress and medications reducing hydrochloric acid, and undetected thyroid problems such as hashimotos or a thyroid
that's being influcenced by too much cortisol. She uses natural products from several reputable companies and manufacturers
and some of her own formulations specifically for gallbladder health.
Deborah spends her spare time perusing gallbladder
and bile research studies and writing newsletters for your enjoyment and edification. Her interest in gallbladder
health was an offshoot of her nutritional studies but more importantly from personal story that began in her childhood
and followed her throughout life, leading her to the study of Chinese medicine. Here is her story.
"I suffered from stomach aches from
early childhood. Trips to doctors had brought no results and so my mother tried some unorthodox methods such as
food combining which resulted in very strange school lunches but none the less gave me some relief. My symptoms
were general indigestion, feeling of fullness following meals or that food was sitting in my stomach for hours,
pain up high above the stomach, below the ribcage in the center and getting worse throughout the day, keeping me
from being able to fall asleep. The pain could get so severe that I would use a very hot water bottle to help to
relax it and after continual weeks of this I would eventually just stop eating for three days to get relief. Doctors
did all sorts of tests, but never any gallbladder tests. And we tried alternative therapies, many of them.
It wasn't until I was in my early 30s that I found any relief at all and that came with a Chinese formula called
Assimil-aid. I had to take a lot of it to notice a difference at first - 4 capsules before I ate and then if I
felt pain afterwards I would take another 4. But it was so amazing to feel relief from the pain that I didn't care
how many I needed to take. If I kept taking them, the pain would go away. Wow! How could it be that a simple herbal
formula could do what all the medicines couldn't? I began to research all of the herbs in that formula and ended
up enrolling in Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. I suspected that the Chinese knew something that we didn't
know. And how true is that!
What I learned about the formula as I progressed in my studies is that the herbs in that formula are more nutritive
than medicinal, containing such things as cinnamon and fennel for example. The formula is designed to nourish the
cells of the digestive system, from the top to bottom, so therefore includes the liver and gallbladder, both small
and large bowel and the stomach. So if the cells are in good shape, healthy and in balance, they will do their
jobs properly, whatever the job of that particular cell is. It might be to produce HCl; it might be to signal more
or less production of Hcl. It may be to secrete more bile; it may be to secrete less bile. It may be to produce
more or less bile. It works on a different principal of most supplements which are generally replacing or taking
over function. For example, taking HCl can be helpful. Wouldn't it be better if one could teach one's body to increase
its own production? And the beauty is that the body knows better than our brains what it needs and when it needs
it. It knows where to send the nutrition, what part of the system is in need of the most help. This is the principal
of regeneration: when the body is fed the proper nutrition in the proper (ie concentrated enough) amounts, it has
the ability to correct its own imbalances.
And Chinese formulas inherently address the emotional aspects of the diseased organ as well. Digestive problems
are often accompanied by stresses of one type or another. Much of that is due to our lifestyles; some due to our
genetic or emotional makeup. Children's "tummy aches" are often connected with some emotion that they
are not able to get in touch with or communicate. Adults are often just in denial of the stress. Addressing the
stress at the same time as the organic problem is the ideal way to treat. "
More recently Debbie has been using acupoint
patches to address many digestive issues, including gallbladder since the underlying problem with any pain or discomfort,
according to Chinese medicine, is due to a stagnation, or something not moving. It can be bile that is not moving
well; it can be food not moving well, feeling like it's stuck above the stomach; it can be constipation with pain
or discomfort from the stool not moving. The patches, just like an acupuncture treatment, can move both qi and
substance such as bile, resulting in symptomatic relief.
The links below are to the sites of the places where she has garnered much of her professional knowledge:
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
International Foundation for Nutrition and Health
Assisted in teaching health pratitioners Digestion, Blood Sugar Handling, Calcium Balance, Healthy Weight Loss
Studied with Datis Kharrazian, author of Why do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms when My Blood Tests are Normal?
Dr. Kharrizian teaches classes around the country through the Postgraduate Department, University of Bridgeport,
Functional Blood Chemistry
Mastering the Thyroid
Cortisol and Melatonin Circadian Rhythm Physiology
Autoimmune Regulation by the Nitric Oxide and Glutathione Systems
Understanding The Complexity of Gluten Sensitivity
Neuruotransmitters and the Brain
Neurochemistry of Childhood Brain Developmental Disorders
Gluten and Autism Connection
Mastering Brain Chemistry