Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cleansing Fast - Preparation

Winter solstice is coming up this weekend. Changes of season are an important time to fast - to give our hard working digestive system a rest, clean our body and mind, and spend some quality time being quiet while Nature is shifting modes from Fall to Winter.

It helps to start preparing for a fast about 1 week in advance. Since I'll be fasting next week, this week I want to get a few things ready:

1. Dry Skin Brush - to use daily during the fast, lightly brushing skin on the arms and legs going towards the heart to assist lymph flow. I do this before showering in the morning.

2. Sesame Oil - for a daily self-massage after showering. Sesame oil is prized for it's many healing qualities according to Ayurvedic practices.

3. Assortment of liquids that I like: vegetable broths - sometimes I make it from scratch, but the organic boxed variety is fine, fresh lemons & limes to put in hot water for a great liver cleansing "tea", and rice for congee (Chinese rice porridge).

4. The Herbal Cleansing Fast Kit from The Oriental Healing Arts Center. I've been doing this seasonal fast for almost 10 years and I love it! The kit makes it so easy to prepare the medicinal herb teas.

5. Hot Water Bottle - for "internal bath" (herbal colonic). I like to get it out and clean it now.

Last of all, I like to try and have a topic that I want to explore while I'm in the state of having a very peaceful and clear mind. This time I'm going to ponder the relationship of Yin & Yang in the form of "good and bad", how they are both necessary, and what it means to have "power" from the interaction and utilization of these 2 forces together.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Properties of Jade

I do not know much about the properties of minerals and stones. I do believe that they have vibrational properties much like herbs, but I had not experienced their power until this week. I bought jade earrings and a jade necklace when I was in China, but only because I liked the color. I previously knew new nothing about Jade. I slept wearing them a few nights ago and woke up just amazed at the issue resolving dreams I had that night. This made me wonder if the Jade had anything to do with the resolutions. So, I did not wear them for two days and nothing happened. I wore them again last night and once again had a similar effect. Most of the dreams were about friends and family. They were all positive, harmonious dreams about people or situations that had been troubling me and were smoothed out in the course of the dream. I have never had these kind of dreams before. I am pleased and humbled by the effects of the jade in my dreams, and I look forward to realizing that energy in my daytime life!

"Jade is a symbol of serenity and purity. It signifies wisdom gathered in tranquility. It increases love and nurturing. A protective stone, Jade keeps the wearer from harm and brings harmony. Jade attracts good luck and friendship. It stabilises the personality and promotes self-sufficiency. Soothes the mind, releasing negative thoughts. Stimulates ideas. A “dream stone”, Jade brings insightful dreams. It aids emotional release, especially of irritability. Jade encourages you to become who you really are." ~

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Authentic Chinese Olympic Sports Massage Gala

The professionals at The Oriental Healing Arts Center have returned from their studies at China’s premier Olympic Sports hospital in Beijing, bringing with them over 2000 years of Ancient Chinese Sports Massage Methods.

You are invited to our Authentic Chinese Olympic Sports Massage Gala where we will reveal the knowledge that we gained from the Sports Medicine Hospital in Beijing, China. Join us for dinner, entertainment, massages, and more on this special evening. You will be the first in Alaska to learn about and experience these Ancient Chinese Sports Massage methods that are used on Olympic athletes to treat and prevent injuries. We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, December 13, 2008, 6-9:30pm
Reservations are $25
The Oriental Healing Arts Center
2636 Spenard Rd

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Recipe: Medicinal Mushroom Chutney with Coconut Curry Leaf Rice

Several people asked me for the recipe of the potluck dish I brought to the very fun Chinese Trip photo sharing gathering we had tonight, so here it is. It’s awesome for your immune system, and yes, I really eat like this – I just made this up for my own breakfast one morning. I don’t measure my spices, so I’m guessing at the amount.


2 cups sweet rice, uncooked and rinsed
3 ½ cups combined mushroom soaking water plus extra water
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand)
1 Tbsp. dried curry leaves
5 cardamom pods, cut open

Mushroom Chutney:
8 dried Shitake mushrooms
1 large dried Maitake mushroom
6 fresh Crimini mushrooms (or other of your choice)
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 shake cumin seeds
sprinkle of turmeric
sprinkle of curry
olive oil for sautéing
sprinkle of soy sauce
1 fresh roma tomato, chopped
2-3 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. flax seed oil


First, place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl and let soak for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the fresh mushrooms, tomato, and garlic cloves, and rinse the rice well.

Once the mushrooms are re-hydrated, take them out but keep the soaking water to use as part of the liquid to cook the rice in. Chop the mushrooms, discarding any tough stems.

Combine all ingredients for rice and cook until done. Remove the cardamom pods when the rice is finished cooking (it’s ok to eat the round black seeds in the middle, so leave them in if you want!).

For the mushroom chutney, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over med-high heat. Sprinkle the cumin seeds in, and when they start to sizzle a little add all the chopped mushrooms and walnuts. Sprinkle on some turmeric and curry spices. Stir fry until the mushrooms are slightly browned. Then pour a little soy sauce over the mixture, give it a few stirs and turn it off.

In a bowl, stir together the cooked mushroom mixture with the fresh tomato, fresh chopped garlic, and flax seed oil. Use this as a topping for the rice. Enjoy!!

Instructor for Taoist Five Element Nutrition Program

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Taoist Thanksgiving

To all our Taoist Community,

I wish you all a wonderful and peaceful thanksgiving. A time of gratitude and humble appreciation of all the good within our lives. I have found that times of abundance, good fortune and prosperity are certainly enjoyable and grant us capacity for comfort, leisure, relaxation, and generosity.

I also believe that difficult, challenging and scarce times are worthy of gratitude. It strips away the illusions of control, security and reliance on external abundance to meet our internal needs. It ultimately is our character, inner strength and insight, talents and virtues that sustain us, enrich us, and provide for us. These are difficult and historic times and overdue. It is the time to inventory our will, values, and personal responsibilities to ourselves, our families and communities. In the philosophy I study, Taoist principles, this is not unexpected.

Prolonged growth and expansion requires prolonged rest and contraction to balance life. This is evident in all of nature. The animals must sleep and hibernate, the plants must re-seed and re-new its energy for the season. Only humanity seems to seek unending prosperity, acquisition and growth. This is time to rejoice, rest, realign and recharge for the next season in the human era. From this we all will discover our abilities and capacity for self reliance and compassion, especially for ourselves.

Be grateful for who you are and how essential you are to Life. Appreciate that all we "endure" during lean times, strengthens us for the next season of expansion and growth. These are the moments we discover our strengths and deficiencies. Fear cultivates desperation, despair and internal poverty. Clarity is a gift of awareness and an awakened spirit. These are the moments for inspiration, creativity, spirituality and self examination. I will personally enjoy and learn in my experience of this time in history; after all, it's only natural.....

Blessings and Peace,


Essential Oil Travel Spritzer

I had recently seen an essential oil travel spritzer that Cynthia McMullen had put out for everyone that was traveling to China. Just a couple days ago, I did some traveling myself from Anchorage down to the states. Usually when I'm traveling on the 2 or more planes I start feeling very sleepy, groggy, restless, etc. So I decided to try out this spritzer. I actually forgot about it when I first got on the plane, but then remembered about an hour in. After I sprayed it, I felt refreshed, it was very nice. I didn't spray a whole lot, since I was a little concerned about the people around me. I then took it with me when I went to the bathroom and sprayed a good amount around me in there. That felt even more refreshing. I do have to say that I stayed awake the rest of the flight, when I usually drift in and out of sleep. My eyes were tired, but the rest of me felt pretty good. On my second flight I ended up spraying it on my hands and taking smells of it that way.
If you are concerned about the people around you not liking that you are spraying it, the way I thought of it was it would be just like putting on a scented lotion. Most people dont say anything when you put that on.
Here are the ingredients if you are interested in trying it the next time you travel:
1 oz. spritzer bottle filled with water
tea tree 6 drops
frankincense 5 drops
eucalyptus 2 drops
lavendar 8 drops
rose geranium 1 drop (optional)

ENJOY! *Lauren

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Finding Happiness

In Taoist philosophy there is a saying about health: “When your heart is happy, everything is fine.” What this means is that when you are able to find peace and happiness within your heart, you will not have painful symptoms of disease in your body (physical), mind (emotions), or spirit (sense of divine purpose).

Having a happy heart is a virtue that most of us have to continually and sincerely work on. However, it helps to know that the end result is a feeling of enthusiastic bliss!

One of the ways that I practice having a happy heart is to take a moment to list some of my favorite things in life. Here’s part of my list today:

1. The color of the clouds when the sun rises over the mountains.
2. A bright blue sky.
3. The smell of walking past wild roses.
4. Jazz music.
5. Foreign French films with subtitles.
6. Sunshine on my toes.
7. Getting a letter from an old friend.
8. Seeing a moose.
9. Laughing hard.
10.The seat heater in the school's new car.

Right now my heart is happy, I’m smiling and have a feeling of deep satisfaction. Please add your own list below and share the bliss!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Life in Harmony for anyone

My name is Clint and I am quite content being Clint. As with most of humanity this has not always been so; to enjoy your life and find peace within it. I teach Tai Chi and have a profound appreciation for the patient cultivation of rising beyond drama, disease, misfortune and self doubt. I am not young, 53, yet I am not old nor will I be. Yet in the fire of our youth we know pain, heartache, longing, emptiness that we immerse in the crucible of ruined passion, self medication, tyrannical mental imprisonment or its corrupt twins of self destruction and obsession. We strive for goals (possessions) to satisfy our drives, our desires to "feel" fulfilled; family, wealth, appearance, and status. I suggest it is not the striving or obtaining these things that cultivate the inner love of self. It is the simple joy of "being" yourself and not the "feeling" within that sets one free. Feelings are energetic light shows of the internal essence. A content inner self expresses as a loving, insightful manifestation of life. 

Tai Chi is an art of gentle discipline over time. A journey of patience and revelation that generates will, self appreciation and strength, slowly over time. It is truly an internal art manifesting outwardly in awareness, agility, patience, compassion, health, flexibility (mentally emotionally and physically) and self love. It is a harvest worth the elegant effort to self care. Ask yourself where does love come from if not within? How can we show compassion if we do not nurture the inner fields within from which it arises? Love is a jagged facade of poisoned wine if love offered requires external compensation. As a teacher I have seen students (mine and others) flourish under the cultivation of tai chi and qigong. They are genuinely more happy, authentic and real. Self love is essential to a life of harmony for everyone. These arts can take you there.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oriental Healing Bellydance Quotes for Thought!

Here are two thought provoking quotes that are specifically about bellydance. Please feel free to discuss your thoughts and feelings :)

"Dancing is the most direct way to become aware of your inner space and of the space outside your body. Dancing unfolds feeling, longings, and nostalgia as well as the mind's powers of observation and thought. It is incumbent upon all human beings to recognize their own paths. This duty confers dignity upon them and makes them into noble, honorable beings. The fulfillment of daily chores and duties finds its meaning in the knowledge of one's way. Dancing is a way to find the teacher inside, in oneself. The wings of imagination soar through dancing."

"In the heat of dancing, the barriers between mind and body vanish, enabling dancers to grow and plunge into a world of great thoughts and feelings where they find themselves bathed in the fragrance of the transformation for which they have waited all their lives."

-Grandmother's Secrets by Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Traditional Taoist Five Elements Nutrition

By Cynthia McMullen, Faculty Member of The Oriental Healing Arts School of Massage Therapy

Cooking with delicious and edible Chinese herbs

Nutrition: That which is taken in to satisfy and nurture a Being.

Often, eating is done out of habit or necessity, sometimes without much thought as to what is being eaten as long as it is acceptable to the palate. However, when we consciously think about what we are eating and why, we can turn the act into a special or even sacred ritual used for healing and self-cultivation purposes.

Traditional Taoist healing practices, upon which Chinese medicine is based, includes Five Elements Nutrition, a treatment method that uses food as a powerful medicine. We can use our food in this way to treat various aspects of our energy body and cause profound physical reactions. If we have physical, emotional, or spiritual symptoms of discomfort, we can go through an Oriental medicine intake with a qualified practitioner. This will lead to an energetic diagnosis based on the Five Elements which include Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Depending on which element is most out of balance, our daily diet can be altered to include foods that will assist in our healing process, and reduce or eliminate foods that are detrimental to our symptoms.

Usually, part of the goal is to strengthen and harmonize our digestive system so that we can efficiently assimilate and use our food intake appropriately. When we achieve this goal a number of things happen: we start to naturally like and dislike certain foods that are either beneficial or harmful to us, we achieve a healthy body weight without dieting, we eliminate food allergies, our mood improves, and our digestion becomes strong and comfortable.

Sometimes Five Elements Nutrition includes the use of Chinese herbs as food, either cooked into a broth or eaten as an ingredient. This is a delicious and fun way to begin exploring the world of medicinal food!

The soups listed below include a few special recipes that are fairly common to the American taste, combined with cooking Chinese herbs as part of the ingredients. They are adapted from the wonderful book "Between Heaven & Earth" by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold. Watch for my workshops to learn about the herbs, see how easy they are to use, and taste the prepared foods.

Wei Qi Soup (immune system enhancing, builds Kidney Qi an Jing)
Harmonize with the Fall Season soup (strengthens the lungs)
Weight Management Soup (instead of fasting, try this for several days!)

These herbal soup kits are available for purchase at The Oriental Healing Arts Center ($38 each). Complete cooking instructions included. (Call us at 907-279-0135 to order if you do not live in the Anchorage Alaska area.)