Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. There's big changes coming to the site - it will soon be the home of my new health coaching practice! Stay tuned. 

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

Entries in Lyme Disease (10)


Book Review // Healing Lyme Disease Naturally: History, Analysis, and Treatments, by Wolf D. Storl

Every well-stocked purse should have a BPA-free water bottle and a book.

I just finished reading Healing Lyme Disease Naturally: History, Analysis, and Treatments, a new book by anthropologist Wolf D. Storl.  I was totally obsessed with this book and couldn't put it down. It contains so much information about the history of Lyme, various theories on the disease, as well as treatment methods. Storl's experience as a well-seasoned anthropologist is evident in his exploration of the relationship between medicine, culture, and politics.  He is fairly radical in his assessment of the way that Lyme Disease and ticks are portrayed and the way that the relationship of epidemic disease, advances in medicine and technology, and general cultural trends have effected our relationship to nature.  At times, he is quite esoteric, discussing the possibility that ticks are really messengers from the Earth, encouraging us to listen more closely to nature and return to the wisdom of the ancients.  He even dives headlong into a discussion of shamanistic tradition, mythology, and the planetary bodies.  This book is all over the place - and yet, I think it is totally approachable.

Storl is no stranger to Lyme Disease. He contracted it and suffered all the classic symptoms.  As someone intolerant to antibiotics, he sought out care using herbs. Eventually, he found his way to teasel root, and found it to be a vital part to his recovery.

Click to read more ...


Tune into "Voices of Lyme Disease" on Sunday, co-hosted by me.

Lyme Disease is more complex than what the back of the bug spray can suggests. Spreading at a rate 7 times faster than that of AIDS, it is estimated that as many as 300,000 new cases will be contracted this year alone, but only about 10% of us will be properly diagnosed and treated. That means that man of us could end up with serious illnesses. 

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.  On Sunday, May 16 at 6 pm Central Standard Time, I will be hosting a live radio program with fellow fierce Lyme warrior Jeanne Marie Bain to help spread awareness.  We will hear stories from adults, teens, and kids who have been fighting for years to get the right diagnosis, and were surprised to learn that a little tick was responsible for all the chaos in their bodies. They will share insights, humor, and resources they've learned in their fight with Lyme disease and other Tick-borne infections.

If you live in Minneapolis, MN listen on 90.3 FM and in St.Paul, MN on 106.7 FM.  If you live anywhere else, you can stream it live online at http://www.kfai.org/ through Windows Media Player or iTunes.  If you miss the live broadcast, the episode will be available online after the the broadcast for 2 weeks at http://www.kfai.org/waveproject.

I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to work with Jeanne on this broadcast, and am excited to be able to participate in sharing valuable and meaningful information through the forum of community sponsored radio.  

If you have the time or the interest, please tune in and listen to the broadcast.  You may learn something new about Lyme Disease, you'll hear meaningful personal stories, and you'll get to hear my radio voice, which I'm told is very nice.  ; )

Voices of Lyme Disease

Live Radio Program with Kim Christensen and Jeanne Marie Bain

Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 6 pm CST on KFAI: Radio Without Boundaries

Minneapolis 90.3 FM   St. Paul  106.7 FM  

Online Live Stream:  http://www.kfai.org/

Download after the broadcast: http://www.kfai.org/waveproject


PS - I will also be on the radio June 19 - check out my Events page for all the info!


How to Remove a Tick and Get it Tested For Lyme Disease

I subscribe to newsletters from Greg Lee, a licensed acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, and Master Sufi Healer in Maryland. He is co-founder of the Two Frogs Healing Center, and has helped clients to heal Lyme disease chronic pain, fatigue, and mental fogginess. He sends out lots of great newsletters about Lyme Disease, and I got this one recently. He allows all his articles to be republished in full form, and I thought that it was a great article to share.  It is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, after all, and the start of tick season.

Please take the time to read this article. Properly removing a tick and getting it tested for Lyme Disease may save your life!


How to Remove a Tick and Get it Tested for Lyme Disease

For people who find a tick embedded in their skin

By Greg Lee, co-founder of the Two Frogs Healing Center

"Uh oh," I thought as I discovered a small embedded tick on my daughter's head. My second thought was, "Did it just give her Lyme disease?" Here is what you can do when you find an attached tick.

How long does it take for a tick to transmit Lyme disease to a person?
Deer tick nymphs can be as small as a poppy seed or a little larger than the size of this period ".". The adults can be about the size of a sunflower seed or about the size of the letter "o". The tick on my daughter was an adult deer tick.


Some experts say that it needs to be attached 24 hours or longer to transmit the bacteria. Others say that you can get infected as soon as the tick bites you. The truth is that no one knows for sure how long a tick has to be attached to infect you. Also, only 50% of people who get infected ever develop a bulls eye rash. My daughter had a raised bump where the tick was attached and did not develop a rash. The first thing we did was to get the tick out.

Click to read more ...


Guest post on Lymenaide: "Lyme-friendly Food: What is There to Eat?"

I'm excited to announce that I am a guest blogger on Lymenaide, an excellent Lyme blog started by fellow Lymie Ashley Von Tol.  Her vision is for Lymenaide to become a great source of information for Lymies, written by other Lymies, and I'm honored to have been invited as a contributor.  

I will be doing regular posts about Lyme-friendly food and will share recipes, as well as provide some Lyme-specific and general healing dietary advice garnished from my own experience, practitioner's advice, and obsessive research and reading.  I just posted my first post, "Lyme-friendly food: What is there to eat?".  It is just an introductory post to kick off my article series, briefly discussing some of the struggles with the Lyme diet, and features a number links back to recipes on this site.  

After being diagnosed with Lyme, I was thrilled to find out the diet I had intuitively settled on for myself fit in line with Lyme treatment protocol.  Without knowing it, I had been addressing Lyme from a dietary perspective all along!   My naturopath believes that is one of the reasons that I was able to return from the teetering brink of disaster I was at a couple years ago and manage my symptoms fairly well, and not continue to get even worse.  Truthfully, I feel like I saved myself from a whole world of trouble that I can't even imagine.  It scares me to think about, and I'm thankful that I will most likely never need to visit that place.

Be sure to check out Lymenaide for lots of great posts on various aspects of living with and treating Lyme.  Earlier in the week there were posts about the potential dangers of electro-magnetic fields and another post about the benefits of infrared saunas during treatment. I'm hoping to be able to get a feed set up on this blog to import posts, but in the meantime, I'll be calling out when I post a new article!



"Under Our Skin", Under My Skin: A Lyme Disease Documentary and My Test Results.


Under Our Skin is a documentary about Lyme Disease, and has received large amounts of critical acclaim from critics and at independent film festivals across the country.  The Minnesota premiere of the film is happening November 8,9, and 10 here in Minneapolis, at the Oak Street Cinema, and this is my shameless plug.

Here's a synopsis of the film:

"A gripping tale of microbes, medicine & money, UNDER OUR SKIN exposes the hidden story of Lyme disease, one of the most controversial and fastest growing epidemics of our time. Each year, thousands go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, often told that their symptoms are "all in their head." Following the stories of patients and physicians fighting for their lives and livelihoods, the film brings into focus a haunting picture of the health care system and a medical establishment all too willing to put profits ahead of patients."


Why am I so interested in this Lyme movie? 

Lyme hits home.  Since learning of my cousin's diagnosis of late-stage Lyme Disease earlier this year, my family and I have delved into researching and learning what we can about the disease in order to better understand what she is going through.  My aunt obtained a copy of the film on DVD, and she lent it to me a few months ago.  I was totally engrossed in it, and watched it a few times.  After watching the film, it struck me more deeply that I should listen to the concerns my aunt, uncle, and cousin had about my symptoms echoing those of Lyme.  I didn't want to be tested - fear! denial!  But after reading more about the disease, talking more with my cousin, and seeing the stories of the individuals in the documentary, I fully accepted that Lyme was a distinct possibility.    Contemplating a future with untreated Lyme Disease became much scarier than just getting the test done and learning the results.  My naturopath and I talked about my concerns, and she thought testing was a good idea.  So, I got a Western Blot test done through IGeneX, Inc. , a state-of-the-art laboratory that specializes in Tick-borne illnesses.

Results?  Positive marks for IgG and IgM, those darn "+" signs on multiple bands, with a few indeterminate marks on others.  I keep hoping that the more I look at those results something will change.   I need to say it out loud to believe it.  I have Lyme Disease.

Do I really have Lyme Disease?  Yes, I do.

According to CDC/NYS, my test results are borderline; the two indeterminate bands in my test result add an interesting twist.  But combined with the bands the are undoubtedly positive, and my health history and symptoms, my naturopath says it is Lyme, and worth treating.  I've heard of false positives, and this is certainly a concern - especially with my borderline results.  But, according to my new Lyme-specialist ND that I'll be seeing for the first time next week, Lyme it hides in the tissues, and easily evades testing.  Once treatment is started, and it starts to emerge from the tissues, and shows up more clearly with testing.  So, people with cases that look borderline at initial testing (showing weaker bands) have test results that go crazy once treatment has started, with more bands of more intense strength. She believes this may be the case with me.  The combination of test results and symptoms seems undoubtable.

The reality of this is setting in.  It seems that I am now one of many. I have something with a name.   I have a ribbon (it's green).  I have a support network.   This diagnosis doesn't change who I am, nor does it suddenly make me feel worse.  Instead, it sheds much needed light on all the junk I still deal with.  As I write this I have shooting pains down my arms and into my fingers, my knees are achy, my eyes are itchy, and I've got a headache.  Why?!  Well, finally, the "why" I ask myself all the time - the "why" of the fatigue, excessive joint pain, occasional brain fog, random heart palpitations, the hormone imbalances, digestive issues, the list goes on - seems to have an answer.  The more I read about Lyme, the more I read about other people's experiences, the more I see myself, and the more this makes sense.

I've picked lots of ticks off my body over my lifetime.  I grew up in a family that ran around Northern Wisconsin, went camping and hiking, and I loved going to summer rustic camps.   My love of nature is steadfast; the woods are my sanctuary. I lay in the grass, I climb trees, I walk through brush, and I have no intention of stopping.   Nature is our blessed friend and is deserving of the utmost respect and love; it is not something to be feared or avoided!  But the danger of ticks was also something we were cautious of, with tickchecks closing out each day.  Did the fateful tick bite me when I was young, and that's why I've had such weird digestive problems, back and knee pain, and issues with depression since I was a teenager?  Maybe it happened in college, when I started developing all those food allergies?  On the other hand, a few years ago I had a weird red bullseye rash (but no tick) that puzzled doctors, and after that more stuff started going weird with my health.  Could that have been the telltale bite?  Yikes, I could drive myself insane remembering all the ticks, bites,  and rashes I've had.  And really, what good would it do?  Trying to pinpoint the exact time I got it doesn't change anything about the present.  All that matters is that I do what I need to do today to deal with it.

In time, I think I will learn to be more comfortable with this diagnosis than with the grey-colored land of uncertainty in which I had formerly been living.  Uncertainty can drive you mad and exhaust your body, mind, and spirit.  Nothing is more exhausting than working and working and working and not knowing what you're working for.  But knowledge?  Knowledge is power.  Knowledge is a tool.  Knowledge can bring resolve to the whole physiological and psychological self.  This diagnosis may be the center of the enormous f****** onion I've been peeling away at for years.  And that is exciting.

I keep telling myself that all these experiences will make a REALLY good healthcare provider someday; there is nothing quite as valuable as first-hand education, right?  I'm not taking any classes right now, but I think I should just start telling people that I'm a student; a student of life, in all its unexpected and complex glory.  I'll be seeing my new Naturopathic Doctor next week; she specializes in Lyme and works with a Lyme-literate MD in New York.  I'm interested to have her look at my test results and get her point of view.  Even though she has already been in contact with current ND and knows about my symptoms and results, I keep hoping that she'll look at them and be like, "Oh wait no!  You and your naturopath were reading this all wrong!  This isn't Lyme...."

I have no idea what to expect.  I'm feeling so conflicted, a very weird mixture of determination, fear, confusion, relief, and denial.  Fine readers, do you have suggestions?  Advice?  Reassurance?  I'm open, please send it my way.  I think that meditation practice my acupuncturist suggested I start is an absolute must.  Thankfully, I'm armed with a good support network of friends, family, and healthcare providers, and I'm as committed as ever to that good old sense of self-preservation, no matter how this all pans out.   As my dad said, it is time to "Win! Conquer! Destroy!"  Next week, I guess I'll find out more about how I'm going to do that...  At least the dietary restrictions I've become so comfortable with translate to a Lyme diet protocol perfectly; that's probably why I felt so much better once I started to eat this way.

In the meantime, I'll be attending the screening of this film, and rubbing elbows with my fellow, uh, Lymies.

That's what Lyme Disease sufferers are called, did you know that?  I heard that label being thrown around a few months ago by some Lyme folks I Twitter with.  I chuckled at the name at the time; I didn't think I'd ever need to use it for myself.

Anyway, if you live in the Twin Cities area, please come to the film, perhaps our paths will cross!  Seriously, if you live around here and plan on coming, leave a comment with when you think you might attend, I'd love to know!  How timely that this film is showing this weekend - now I can wrangle all my friends to come, and have them all learn about Lyme Disease at once.  How convenient.  [insert a pinch of sarcasm here]  For those of you who don't live around here, check out www.underourskin.com for a listing of other screenings - it is showing all over the country, and you really ought to check it out if you can.


Minnesota premiere of the award winning documentary

Oak Street Cinema
309 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis, MN
Show Times:
November 8, 2009: 2 PM & 5 PM
November 9 & 10, 2009: 7:30 pm

General admission $8, Seniors $6
Admission $5 with MFA membership or valid student ID

For more information on the documentary and additional screenings, check out: www.underourskin.com
For more information on the screening at the Oak Street, check out:

May you have passion to seek the truth, courage to accept what you find, the strength to change what you can, and an unfaltering commitment to the beauty that is YOU.


Hope to see you at the movies.

xoxo, Kim


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