Pharaoh Lake Wilderness

I just got back from a spectacular backpacking trip at Pharaoh Lake in New York. The lake is the largest undeveloped lake in NY and is just 2 hours away. While I heard it rained all weekend here in Burlington (except during Art Hop Friday night), we had perfect weather. Thundershowers only a night.

We had a 5 mile hike in and spent two nights in a lean-to, did a bunch of swimming, lounging on the big rock and hammock-ing. There are canoes available on the lake, so we also enjoyed a paddle, too. Paradise.

I’ll be back this fall for either another backpacking trip or at least a day hike. I want to hike up Mt Pharaoh as well as do the Treadway Mountain hike, which is 7.5 there and back from Putnam Lake and supposedly has the most amazing views of the lake. Here’s a link on Alltrails: Treadway Mountain Trail.

One of the things I like about the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area is there is low bear activity, compared with the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks. We were there the weekend after Labor Day and saw very few people. I’m not sure how busy it gets over the summer, but I can’t wait to go back for foliage season. If you go, let me know what you think.



Pharaoh Lake sunset


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Magnolia Flower – Xin Yi Hua

IMG_7645Magnolia Flower bud – Xin Yi Hua – Flos Magnoliae Liliflorae

properties: acrid, slightly warm

channels entered: Lung

Expels wind and opens the nasal passages: used for nasal obstruction or congestion, sinus problems, and related headaches.

My Magnolia flowers just opened up today!

Note: there are over 100 Magnolia varieties, and many don’t grow this far north in Vermont. This is not the main species uses in Chinese medicine, but a cross between Magnolia liliiflora ‘Reflorescens’ and Magnolia stellata ‘Waterlily.’ It’s as close as I could get for now.

Xin Yin Hua is the fuzzy bud. The bark, Hou Po, and the flower, Hou Po Hua, of the Magnolia officinalis are also used in Chinese Medicine.


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Happy Spring


Acupuncture treatment is great this time of year to help get the Qi flowing. Spring is the time when yang Qi rises up, but it can get stuck along the way, leading to irritability, depression or even rage, joint pain, digestive issues, allergies and more. Exercise, eating clean, Chinese herbal formulas or nettles tea can be helpful. Acupuncture is an option for helping to un-constrain your Qi and tune up your system.

If you are not up for needles or just want to try something different to get your Qi flowing, Zero Balancing is an awesome option. I’ve been getting great feedback from patients, who are experiencing wonderful results with pain relief, headaches, relaxation and more.

Available Services & Rates:

$85 acupuncture 60 minutes

$105 acupuncture + ZB 70 minutes

$125 acupuncture + ZB 80 minutes

$85 Zero Balancing 30 minutes

$105 Zero Balancing 45 minutes

$85 herbal consultation 30 minutes (existing patients)

$45 herbal consultation 15 minutes (existing patients)

See my online scheduler to see more services and rates.


Look out for my brand new Vermont Acupuncture & Wellness Instagram page. I will be sharing the beautiful herbs I am growing as they blossom – the Magnolia is about to burst, and some that I find in nature – like this Coltsfoot.EBCB822D-23E1-4EFE-B5CA-746F18F1014C_1_105_c

I’ll be in touch soon. I have so much to say – about health and nutrition – about growing and grinding Chinese herbs – about Acupuncture – Zero Balancing – Classical Herbal Formulas.

on facebook at: Vermont Acupuncture & Wellness

be well


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Kuan Dong Hua – Coltsfoot

Kuan Dong HuaEBCB822D-23E1-4EFE-B5CA-746F18F1014C_1_105_c – Flos Tussilago farfara – Coltsfoot

properties: acrid warm

channels entered: Lung

Redirects the Qi downward and stops cough: used commonly for cough and wheezing from many different etiologies.

Use with caution for any cough with a Heat condition.C0B73F4A-9709-4CDD-9DD5-FEC74F0565CE_1_105_c


I was hiking near Camel’s Hump the other day and found lots of Coltsfoot growing in the ditch along the dirt road, amongst gravel and not far from the river. One of the earliest spring herbs – April – found in ditches along dirt roads and trails.

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Year of the Cat – Happy Chinese New Year 2023

It’s been wild ride these past few years – punctuated by the powerful yang energy of the year of the Tiger 2022.

We are now sliding into the mellow yin energy of the water Rabbit, or as they say in Vietnam, the Year of the Cat. Since I spent rabbitsome years in Vietnam, I got in tune with the Cat replacing the Rabbit or Hare, which is the animal all other Asian countries are celebrating.

While the Rabbit has the qualities of gentleness and fluidity, I think of the agile, able Hare as more representative of this zodiac animal. Yet the Cat embodies those qualities plus a curiosity & otherworldliness that brings the cat to another plane.

The Tiger energy is ushering in the magical and potentially miraculous Cat energy.

This year is a great opportunity to tune in spiritually, pay attention to and trust your gut, meditate, sit and do nothing, take catnaps. Clarity & simplicity are themes.

Listening is the main theme. This year is about tuning in to ourselves. Be self-assured like a cat. Be your true self. What makes your heart sing? What brings joy and meaning to your life? Only you know – tune in to find some hints.

And the Year of the Cat is also about tuning in with each other; it’s about what we all have in common. Be like a rabbit! Be gentle and kind, enjoy your community, frolic!

Listen to yourself.IMG_7041

Listen to each other.

Listen to nature.

This year is for Catma – the antithesis of Dogma.


Nutrition suggestions for the Year of the Cat

Take time to have relaxing meals, sitting down without work. Enjoy your meal as a sort of casual meditation.

Chew. Digestion starts in the mouth. Relax and chew your food well before swallowing.

Eat real food. Read ingredients on food labels.


Beware of the Dogma – it’s the year of Catma!

Stay curious. Keep your mind open, your heart full and trust your instincts. Take rests.

Year of the Cat is from 21 January 2023 to 10 February 2024, when the Year of the Dragon begins.

Live your truth and let the DRAGONmagic begin.


I feel lucky to be on the incredible path of East Asian medicine, natural healing and nutrition. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow from each and every patient. Thank you for all of your support over the years.

Wishing you and yours the best of luck, fertility and health in 2023.


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Xlear Nasal Spray available at Walgreens

I was at my local Walgreens checking out the nasal sprays and I was pleasantly surprised to see the Xlear nasal spray I mentioned in my recent newsletter Cold Season Medicine Cabinet. Xlear Nasal Spray is a strong natural antimicrobial with grapefruit seed extract – great for occasional use for exposure or for sinusitis.

IMG_6772Always check the ingredients because sometimes it can be surprising what is in a product that looks all natural. Here’s the ingredients for Xlear. IMG_6780 Read More »

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Turkey Liver Pate with Cranberries

Liver is a super-food. Liver contains significantly more vitamin A, all the Bs, iron and other minerals than any other food. Pate is my preferred way to eat liver. It’s so good – and you don’t need to eat a lot to get the nutritional value. If you’ve got a turkey liver – you’ve got to try this recipe.

Thanksgiving 2023 we are roasting a wild turkey. It’s a bit smaller than a farmed turkey and the liver was a quarter pound, so I halved the recipe.


1 turkey liver (about a half pound)

1/3 stick of good quality butter or ghee

1 medium onion, minced (or 2-3 shallots)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T each: rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme

¼ t allspice

¾ t sea salt

¼ t pepper

1-2 T cream or half and half

1-2 T sherry or cognac (optional)

Small handful of cranberries (not too much or the pate will be tart – alternatively try a spoonful of cranberry sauce)

Equipment: non-cast iron pan, food processor

  1. Trim away any membranes on the liver, slice or chop, and soak in salted water – at least 30 minutes but ideally for a few hours or even overnight.
  2. In a stainless steel (or any non-cast iron) heat butter on medium and add onion and sauté for 10 minutes until lightly caramelized.
  3. Chop garlic and herbs and add to pan with onions. Add allspice, salt and pepper. Once you can smell the aromatics (about 2-3 minutes)…
  4. Add liver and cook until browned on outside but still pink inside (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat.
  5. Once the onion and liver mixture has cooled a bit, add to food processor along with cream, cranberries and sherry or cognac (if using). Blend until smooth.
  6. Spoon pate into small jars or other container and refrigerate to cool – later you can put some in the freezer for longer storage. Refrigerated pate lasts about 7-10 days.
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Cold Season Medicine Cabinet

I’m thinking of you, hoping you are enjoying this glorious fall.8ED73C30-7A9E-4A1B-8CF2-856B3B218A8D_1_105_c

I want to share with you my favorite combination of natural remedies that I like to have on hand for the cold and flu season. Early treatment boosts your body’s ability to fight the pathogenic invasion (virus), so symptoms resolve more quickly.

Here are my Recommendations for the Cold Season Medicine Cabinet:

Vitamin D3 – prophylactically to increase your vitamin D stores. In the summer we get vitamin D from the sun… bye bye sun, hello Vermont winter. Now’s the time to start.

Zinc – key to reducing viral replication.

Vitamin C – another key nutrient to boosting immunity to help your body fight off colds, flues, coronaviruses Vitamin C is essential to virtually all systems in the body including heart, eyes, brain, bones, ligaments, skin and tissues.

Cinnamon Twig Formula (Gui Zhi Tang) – best formula for early onset of colds for many people. It boosts the body’s natural defenses against invading pathogens, especially again cold wind. If you tend to be averse to cold wind, it is likely that this is the formula for your pattern. If you find it is easy to catch a cold after being exposed to cold, try this, it is pretty yummy with honey or mixed into your oatmeal. This it the main formula I recommend for people tending toward this pattern to have in the medicine cabinet.

I have Cinnamon Twig Formula in my office in powders or pills, and it is available as a box of single serving packets (plenty for the whole extended family to have some) from TCM brand from FullScript.

Herbal Cold Care Tea (previously known as Gypsy Cold Care) is available at my office or at City Market or other stores. Yarrow, elderflower, hyssop and mint are the main herbs that help boost the respiratory immune response. I like it with a small spoonful of honey.

Honey is great medicine; it is anti-microbial and wonderful for an irritated throat. Buy raw local honey for best results.

Quercetin – supports immune system and respiratory function. Quercetin has been shown to offer strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, along with anti-hypertensive, anti-coagulant and anti-hyperglycemic properties.

As an early treatment, 250 mg 2x daily. Vit C helps the body absorb Quercetin more effectively.

NAC – has anti-oxidant and detoxifying effects, supports immune function and promotes lung and sinus health.

Xlear Nasal Spray – strong natural antimicrobial with grapefruit seed extract – great for occasional use for exposure or for sinusitis.

Gargling with anti-microbial mouthwash is another helpful way to deal with exposure. There are many a1551ebb-f748-49bd-914d-9e027a842680options for what to gargle. Check out what I wrote about Gargling and think about what works best for you. I prefer my mouthwash to be free of artificial ingredients dyes, and have been using Listerine Naturals, but it has been recently discontinued. Let me know what natural mouthwash you like.

Bi Yan Pian – a Chinese herbal formula for sinus congestion, is good to have around if you are prone to sinus issues.  Ask me to recommend one for you, I have several versions of the formula in stock.

Olbas Nasal Inhaler – is awesome to open the nasal passages using essential oils.

Gan Mao Ling Chinese herbal formula – used for sore throat, especially a strongly sore throat with redness, this Chinese herbal formula focuses on killing viruses in the throat. The throat connects to the ears and sinuses, so those areas can be affected as well. I do not recommend this formula to be taken preventatively, but only for treatment of a sore throat. If it is a mild sore throat, I would generally start with Cinnamon Twig formula. If it progresses, I would add Gan Mao Ling. This fall sore throat has been a common symptom, and if you are someone who feels like they nearly always get a sore throat when they get sick, this is a good one for the medicine cabinet.

Huo Xiong Zheng Qi Tang (aka Ease Digestion or Quiet Digestion). This formula is good for harmonizing the digestion and also gently releasing or venting the exterior. It appears that in some cases the main symptoms are digestive upset, such as loose stools, possibly along with a headache and fatigue. It is great to have on hand also for food poisoning or any Stomach bug.

Most of these are available at my office, and also online with Cold Season Medicine Cabinet Protocol  through my dispensary with FullScript.

While I don’t recommend taking too many supplements, I do recommend high quality ones which are more easily assimilated by your body and not just peed or pooped out. I’m partnering with FullScript to help provide top quality supplements, delivered directly to your home. Everything in the FullScript catalog is professional grade natural. Pick and choose what makes sense for you and your family and friends.

I am offering a 10% discount for my patients. Standard shipping is free for orders above $50 and there is a promotion for free delivery for the first 10 patient orders. You can see more recommendations in my Favorites section. (Catalog > Favorites > Cold Season Medicine Cabinet), or search the entire catalog.

Ask me about customized Chinese herbal formulas for your constitution.


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Zero Balancing II November 17-20



 Zero Balancing II

A 25-hour professional, hands-on, body-mind therapy training

with Michele Doucette DC

ZB II November 17 – 20, 2022

ZB I March 17-20, 2023

Zero Balancing is a unique, hands-on, bodywork system of healing.  It combines the Western view of medicine and science from the field of osteopathy with Eastern concepts of energy and healing from the field of acupuncture.  ZB affects the whole person (body, mind, and spirit) by providing both structural therapy and energy medicine simultaneously.

Practitioners learn to engage, evaluate, and balance the deepest currents of movement through bones, joints, ligaments, and other soft tissue. Through touch we learn to access the body’s “interoceptive” mechanism of conscious awareness, self-referencing, and physical, as well as psycho-emotional, resilience.  ZB facilitates deep relaxation that relieves musculoskeletal tension patterns caused by stress, injury, illness, suboptimal posture, etc.

ZB offers the opportunity to work with expanded states of consciousness and to address imbalances in energy fields that precede pathology (illness).   It promotes an expansive meditative state that is grounded in the body and often allows clients to experience greater self-awareness, mindfulness, and insight into their personal health and wellness. ZB is effective for pain relief, improved joint function, and ease of movement.  Side effects may include peace, happiness, clarity, and personal growth as ZB brings a person closer to his or her true nature.

It changes lives.

ZB I is approved for 25 hrs. Continuing Education credit (through VT Board of Chiropractic, NCBTMB, NCCAOM, PT/OT boards and agencies and 30.5 hrs. for RN, NP, by American Holistic Nurses Assoc.

To register contact Dr. Doucette at 802-464-2361  or register online at   Course Fee:  $595 If pd 2 mo. Advance, $695 if pd 1 mo. advance, $795 thereafter           Read testimonials from students at

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How much water do you actually need?

I heard this report on NPR – newly researched – everyone needs different amounts of water! Chinese medical practitioners have been saying this for a few millennia. Drink to thirst is the main rule of thumb – we are not all the same and we don’t all need the same amount of water. In some cases, over drinking can be detrimental. Others need to drink above thirst to prevent symptoms.



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