Tuesday, December 15, 2009

When a Healer Dies

I just learned that a local acupuncturist passed away from cancer. She was a wonderful acupuncturist – I had seen her for treatments when I first moved to Alaska years ago – caring, knowledgeable, and effective.

This brings to light a topic that needs to be discussed. In the medical community – both allopathic and holistic – there is an underlying tone of failure that pokes its head out when a doctor or healer dies of a disease. Many people think or even say out loud “What went wrong? Why weren’t they healed? Does their medicine not work, or weren’t they strong enough to do it – why?”

So my first question is: Must a healer be perfect?? Can a healer not get sick? Can a healer not get angry, have a messy home, or ever make a mistake? Why or why not?

With that question simmering on the back burner for a moment, I need to bring out the Spirit aspect of mind-body-spirit medicine. Things happen for a reason, and since it happened it is perfect within the workings of the incredible and complex synergistic universe we live in. Some people would call it God’s plan, others the Creator’s doing, and some would even call it a tragedy. The nature of the Tao considers nothing to be good or bad, just to Be.

Who is to know now what affect this healer’s life and death has and will have on those she touched? On her family and close friends? Who knows in what way the spiritual path of others required this death to happen exactly as it did? What caring, compassion, inner strength, and beauty will come out of it in the years ahead?

Now my next questions: If being a healer does not mean being “perfect”, what does it mean? If a healer dies of a disease did they fail – or did the medicine fail?
I sincerely believe that the tone of failure due to the act of dying needs to be changed. A new tone needs to be set. Let’s ring the bell and set a new tone – one of gratitude for the many lives that were touched, one of the perfectness of things that happen we will never understand but choose to accept, and one of allowing a spirit to transition to another level when it is time – no matter the circumstances within which that happens. There is something greater at work than we comprehend.

I thank her spirit for all she did for me, and the role she personally played in the path I’m on today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New National Emergency: Fear of Flu Weakens Americans!

What has been happening to us lately – us being Americans – has finally reached a point of ridiculousness! Today our local newspaper provided a beautiful color pamphlet insert called “Flu Guide” (Fight the Flu – It Starts With You), published by our city government.

This pamphlet contains a well organized chart of symptoms and actions to take when you have them, a list of helpful supplies to have on hand (7 out of 19 listed are medications), flu facts, phone numbers for various health centers, and a fold out of 5 major ways to fight the flu:

#1: Get the H1N1 vaccine
#2: Cover your coughs or sneezes
#3: Wash your hands
#4: Don’t touch your face
#5: Stay home if you are sick

NOWHERE in this information, or anywhere else that supplies public information, are we being given direct and reinforced directions on how to boost our own immune systems and prevent or lessen the impact of the flu. It’s like there’s nothing proactive we can do – we’re going to get it - OH NO – so we better get vaccinated because it’s the only thing that’s going to save us.

PLEASE! I don’t care if you get the vaccine or not. Get it if it makes you feel better, but don’t think it’s the only choice you have!

If the government can tell the herd of sheep that the best way to protect yourself from the flu is a vaccine and we believe it, then we deserve to be sheep.

What would happen if our caring government actually gave some empowering advice such as “The Top 5 Ways to Pump Up Your Immune System and Avoid the Flu” and strongly promoted it along with the vaccine information? For example:

#1: Decrease your stress levels however possible, since stress greatly harms your immune system: Get a massage, meditate, practice yoga or tai chi, do something kind, forgive someone.

#2: Get enough rest: Its flu season so you need to take extra good care of yourself. Try to go to bed at least one hour earlier for the next 2 months. Take a quick nap whenever you can.

#3: Watch your nutrition: Remember during cold & flu season to cut down on the junk and increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.

#4: Vitamin Supplements: This is a great season to supplement your Vitamin D (Cod liver oil is a great choice) and take an extra Vitamin C. Remember that Vitamin D needs fat in order to be used, so don’t rely on low fat milk as your only source.

#5: Take time to feel happy: Laughing heartily and taking a few minutes each day to feel happy about something is a very powerful and fun way to boost your immune system.

What’s the worst that could happen if we heard this message over and over and over again – on the TV news, on the radio, in the newspaper? We might become strong and healthy?

To your health,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Yin and Yang of Your Dark Side

First I’m going to provide several beliefs from Taoist Philosophy that need to be considered:

#1: The nature of the Universe is Yin and Yang.
These opposing forces cannot exist without each other. For simplicity right now, I’ll call Yin bad and Yang good. If there were no good, only bad would exist and we wouldn’t know it was bad because there would be nothing else to compare it to. Same thing for good – if there were no bad, only good would exist and we wouldn’t know it because there would be nothing to compare it to. In order to understand something, you must be able to compare it to something else that you already know.

#2: All Yin has a little Yang in it, and all Yang has a little Yin in it.
If you look at the Taoist Yin/Yang symbol, you see a swirl of white with a little black circle in it, and a swirl of black with a little white circle in it. This has a very deep meaning to it. In terms of the opposites good and bad, it means that everything good has a little bit of bad in it, and everything bad has a little bit of good in it. There is no linear time or space involved in this, so sometimes it can be difficult to see. I’ll give some basic examples:

~~~ You are in a very bad relationship that finally ends. 10 years later, you are stronger, fulfilling your passions and desires, and very clear about relationship boundaries in life – all because you had that “bad relationship”.

~~~ Someone you love dies and you look at the earth and the sky and deeply appreciate the beauty of what you are surrounded in and the friends and family you have. Usually you take these things for granted, but today they have an awe that pierces your heart.

~~~You want to purchase a piece of furniture and when you go to the store there is one problem after another – the sales computer breaks down, there is confusion about the sale, the clerk gets angry and frustrated giving you a bad feeling. You leave, disappointed, then next week you spontaneously walk into a store that has an even better piece of furniture – better than you imagined! – and it’s on sale for the exact amount of money you still have to spend on it.

Get the idea?

#3: Everything in nature that exists has a purpose.
If something exists, it has a purpose. We may not always be able to see or understand that purpose, but it is there. Bad things exist and part of their purpose is to make us appreciate good things. If we go back to the nature of Yin and Yang, even evil has a purpose – without evil there would be no love to the highest degree. The last time you were sick with a cold or the flu, didn’t you appreciate health and feeling good during that time?

#4: We are mind-body-spirit beings with a potential for enlightenment.
According to Taoist philosophy, each of our physical internal organs is strongly affected by a specific emotion, and each organ also has a spiritual aspect called a “Potential”. Potentials (inner strength and insight, benevolence to ourselves and others, unconditional love, compassion, courage and honor) are aspects of humanity that, in order to achieve, require

dedicated work
and intention.

These might be considered attributes one strives to attain along your personal spiritual path. The difficulties that you must overcome, experience, and understand in order to reach your Potential are the things that lead to enlightenment.

Now I’m going to discuss my personal thoughts, experience, and understanding of how to apply these Taoist principles to the nature of our Dark Side. During a previous cleansing fast, I meditated strongly on the nature of good and bad and how to incorporate both sides into my being. I gained personal valuable insight from doing this, and I hope it can benefit others.

Most of us will admit to having a Dark Side, and we all have one whether or not we acknowledge it. I consider myself a “good person”, so what about my own Dark Side? I know that it is fun, adventurous, and morally uninhibited. It likes to have its cake and eat it too, regardless of who is hurt. It will lie, cheat, and steal under the right circumstances. It even has the ability to maim and kill without remorse.

So what do I do about this part of myself that exists? I can’t deny it – it’s there, and I know it’s there because I must have an opposite of my goodness. I can’t hate it because when you hate something it will always rebel and work against you. I do, however, contain it with what I would like to think is a high degree of appropriateness. But I started to wonder.....


Some people’s Dark Side shows up as low self-esteem, self-abuse on a physical and emotional level, denial of joy in life, depression, uncontrollable anger, violence towards others, drug and alcohol abuse, and more on this line.

One of my favorite authors, Stephen Buhner, says “When you love something enough, it will show you its secrets.” Let’s look into this more deeply because it is extremely important.

WHAT IF you say “Ok, my Dark Side. I acknowledge you, I accept you, and I’m even going to love you. I love myself, and I know that hating any part of myself would be devastating to my health and my spirit, so I’m going to go ahead and love you too.” (Note: If you happen to not like yourself, this is part of your Dark Side so you’re going to have to get over it for a little while in order to do this.)

WHAT IF you decide to believe that your Dark Side contains a secret – a secret of unimagined goodness and beauty, and the only reason it hides this secret is because your Dark Side is so misunderstood and hated that it is constantly surrounded in the energy of guilt, shame, and negativity.

Now, you start a daily affirmation, “My Dark Side, I accept you and I love you.” At first, this may be extremely difficult, especially if your Dark Side is vile and at the bottom of social hatred. Keep doing it anyway. Loving your Dark Side DOES NOT mean acting on it! It is the kind of unconditional love where a mother still loves her son that violently killed someone. You love it because it is of you.

Over time, the feeling of this affirmation will begin to change and a spark of sincerity will ignite.
Keep doing it until you feel this, because the sincerity in your love is the key to unlocking the secret.

If you’ve ever seen a movie where you end up liking the bad guy, this is how it feels to transform your Dark Side. Your Dark Side holds something in it that makes it beneficial on some level. It has a code of honor that you consciously and courageously stand by – the line you won’t cross because you’ve decided not to under any circumstance.

The cable TV series “Dexter” gives a great example of this. Dexter is a born serial killer. His adoptive father recognizes this in him at a very early age and raises him to live by a special code. His father does not deny his nature (his Dark Side), but allows it to exist under specific circumstances. Dexter kills, but ONLY when someone meets the criteria established by his code of honor. He does not kill or hurt innocent people. You end up loving the serial killer! I call this “The Dexter Code” and it can be applied to even the most vile Dark Sides.

For a vile example, take someone that likes to kill, or the person that molests or abuses innocent children. Loving your Dark Side again DOES NOT mean acting on these urges. Remember if you have this and you hate it, it will always work against you. If you learn to love it unconditionally, as you would your child, you can transform it and allow it to exist within an established code of honor.

Imagine that you have the mind of a killer, rapist, or abuser. If you acknowledge that you have the ability to think this way, and you know that this is something deep in your heart you don’t want to do, you can use this knowledge as a way to identify the minds of others that would hurt innocent people. Volunteer at a police department to assist them, and don’t accept money for it. Write a book about how to protect people from someone like yourself. There are many, many ways of using your dark mind in benevolent ways. If it comes down to it, there is also an industry of consenting adults who will accept payment for acting out your fantasy in a way that no one is actually hurt. But you have to make yourself an honorable code and then live by it no matter what. This is a conscious decision made with sincerity for the benefit of others because something inside you cares.

The above paragraph is only a brief example, and does not provide the beauty of the secret inside. To understand the secret, YOU have to sincerely love it enough that it tells YOU, and others that don’t love it probably won’t understand. This happens deep inside your heart and is a KNOWING experience on a very deep spiritual level that will change you forever.

When you sincerely love something enough that it shows you its secret, you will understand the beauty in what you hate and it will then work for you, not against you. By the way, I had to have the faith, belief, desire, and respect to work with this for about 2 years before something I hated trusted me enough to tell me its incredible secret, and yes, I am deeply changed by it. I share these thoughts with the hope that you, too, can experience what I did, and together the beautiful secret within my Dark Side and your Dark Side can make the world a better place.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Live Past 100!

Hi Mom & Dad - please print this out and read it at your convenience.

We had a fun class last night where we listened to an audiotape of cutting edge research in the mind-body field of science (technically called Psychoneuroimmunology or PNI for short, if you care).

I thought some of this might interest you - "they" (the research team) did an in-depth study of people that live to be more than 100 years old and here's some of what they found:

1. Centenarians live a life based on joy (rather than deprivation).

2. Centenarians don't obsess about health or healthy living. They do generally eat and live in moderation, but because it's what they like and prefer - not because they're afraid of aging and dying. (Interesting note - there were no vegetarians or vegans among them. Apparently vegetarians don't live past 100.)

3. If you are healthy now, the probability of growing older and staying healthy actually increases. (The reasons this doesn't happen to many people is very interesting! It has more to do with cultural belief than anything else - and there are many scientific studies to back this up. If you live in a culture that believes you decline in health as you get older, that's what happens. BUT... If you live in a culture that believes that the older you are the stronger you are, THAT'S what happens.)

4. The brain and the mind do not deteriorate together. You can have an aging brain with deterioration that has no impact whatsoever on the quality of your mind.

5. Most centenarians have a "ritual" - something they do on a regular basis that identifies their joy in life.

6. The majority of centenarians rarely seek medical advice (outside of emergencies and traumas). Many have not seen a doctor in more than 45 years! They feel in control of their own health and would rather figure out how to change their lifestyle than have someone else control their health by giving them a pill. (It was brought out that all the advances in medical science has had absolutely no effect on these people living to be more than 100!)

7. Most centenarians are seen as "rebels", and are seen as wise. They don't like to be around "downer old people" and would rather hang out around youth because "youth is contagious".

8. They believe in a higher power. If religious, their god is kind and loving, not wrathful. If not specifically religious, they have a strong sense of spirituality.

9. They believe middle age is somewhere between 75-90. One person said "You can't know what middle age is until you die - that's when you find out."

10. They negotiate with life and find meaningful reasons other than disease for things - for example, one man admitted to waking up several times each night to urinate. The researchers marked him down as having prostrate issues, but he corrected them by saying that his prostrate is fine - he sleeps with dogs, they have fleas, and the fleas wake him up. Since he's awake he might as well go to the bathroom.

11. They have an absence of envy, live in the present, and are optimistic about the future.

12. They love their jobs, or love what they are doing. There is no concept of retiring and doing nothing.

13. They have no sense of aging. (My favorite response from one woman, asked how old she was: "My age is none of my business!")

14. They feel that they are liked and loved by others. (This was important regardless of whether or not they actually were liked and loved by others.)

15. They have a good sense of humor and laugh often.

16. Most centenarians die easily and peacefully in their sleep.

17. Advice tidbits from the centenarian group:

- Never take advantage of senior citizen discounts. It makes people treat you like you're old.

- Always ask "what can I do to help myself?" rather than "what can you do to help me?"

- Live as if you will be around forever. Imagine you are ageless.

- Be at peace with yourself.

- Forgive easily.

Love, Cynthia

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Link to Qi Dao Newsletter

This is a link to "Qi Dao", a great on-line newsletter filled with research and articles on Tai Chi, QiGong, and other Taoist topics. Contributers are some of the top international names associated with the Taoist arts.

Of note in this issue: How to structure Tai Chi and Qigong practice into your daily life.

Enjoy & please share!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Nutrition Tip Of The Day

Don't wear a white shirt when preparing and cooking beets.

Eating Healthy for the Week

I try to plan my weekly dinner menu around my Full Circle Farms organic food box. This is such a great service - especially in Alaska! Full Circle Farms is out of Washington State and you can join their co-op to have a box of fresh organic food delivered for pick up at a convenient location to your home or work. To find out more about them, see their website at http://www.fullcirclefarm.com/. If you decide to join, please mention my name as a referral - I would get some free organic produce and I promise to do wonderful things with it to benefit many people!
This week, some of the main food items were:
Salad Greens & Dandelion Leaves
Potatoes, white & sweet potatoes
Apples, Lemons & Mangoes

Working with these items, here is the menu I've made for the week:

1. Veggie Lasagna - with the spinach and carrots - plus I bought zuchini, yellow sqash, and a red pepper.

2. Asparagus Risotto & Salad - with the asparagus and a lemon. I'll make it with 1/2 risotto rice and 1/2 barley, plus fresh chicken broth I'm cooking right now in the crock pot.

3. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - Ok, this one is gone already. I also added 1 of the apples and bought 2 peaches. I topped it with an oatmeal, wheat flour, brown sugar, and butter crumbly mixture.

4. Potatoes with Broccoli & Chicken, Salad - Sauteed white & sweet potato chunks with a side of broccoli (I still have some left from last week) and I buy a rotisserie chicken from New Sagaya City Market near downtown Anchorage. I prefer their chicken because it does not have nitrates as a preservative. I really like City Market, too, because it's the one place in Anchorage that really reminds me of some of the artsy gourmet markets near where I grew up (think Georgetown DC and Bethesda MD). For the chicken, I clean off the meat and cook the skin, bones & scraps into a fresh broth to use in other things - like the risotto.

5. Chef's Special Soup - any unused veggies will get cooked into a soup with the chicken broth as a base. This is so good! People that attended my Five Elements Nutrition workshop last weekend LOVED my soup topping choices of buttermilk or plain yogurt.

Extra fruit, carrots, and some of the dandelion leaves get juiced or eaten for snacks - juicing these is such a great way to get high quality nutrition into your kids.

So, I do eat meat but in moderation. I also eat red meat on occasion and I prefer buffalo (mashkode bizhiki) to honor my ancestors, but a good steak from range fed beef is also tasty! I don't eat much fish only because I personally don't care for the taste.

I hope this inspires some ideas for you!

Great Idea Ritual

I need a really great idea, so I'm going through my ritual:

1. Set intention.
2. Drink 1 drop of Iris flower essence in water - I love the way it stimulates creativity!
3. Turn on good music (tonight it's Prince MPLSound & ethnic drumming)
4. Do Tai Chi for an hour or so - gets the energy flowing and unblocks everything
5. Dream and see what happens, I know it will be fabulous!

Good night.

UPDATE: 6/11/09
After doing this, over the next week I had 3 incredible ideas - more than I expected and EXACTLY what I needed!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Essential Oil Travel Spray

Lauren posted this back in November after going to China, but so many people have asked for it recently I'm re-posting it again. It's GREAT on airplanes to ward off germs in the air around you. Be sure to spray it on yourself - not others.
1 oz. spritzer bottle filled with water
Tea Tree 6 drops
Frankincense 5 drops
Eucalyptus 2 drops
Lavender 8 drops
Rose Geranium 1 drop

(Also makes a great bathroom spray)

Fear of Swine Flu?

In light of all the fear being spread about Swine Flu and other diseases, I would like to provide the following quote. Dr. Edward Bach is the founder of the Bach Flower Remedies. His insight below, from 1931, is extremely valid right now. Enjoy!
Dr. Edward Bach on the fear of disease:
"In this age the fear of disease has developed until it has become a great power for harm, because it opens the door to those things we dread and makes it easier for their admission. Such fear is really self-interest, for when we are earnestly absorbed in the welfare of others there is no time to be apprehensive of personal maladies. Fear at the present time is playing a great part in intensifying disease, and modem science has increased the reign of terror by spreading abroad to the general public its discoveries, which as yet are but half-truths.

The knowledge of bacteria and the various germs associated with disease has played havoc in the minds of tens of thousands of people, and by the dread aroused in them has in itself rendered them more susceptible of attack. While lower forms of life, such as bacteria, may play a part in or be associated with physical disease, they constitute by no means the whole truth of the problem, as can be demonstrated scientifically or by everyday occurrences. There is a factor which science is unable to explain on physical grounds, and that is why some people become affected by disease while others escape, although both classes may be open to the same possibility of infection. Materialism forgets that there is a factor above the physical plane which in the ordinary course of life protects or renders susceptible any particular individual with regard to disease, of whatever nature it may be.

Fear, by its depressing effect on our mentality, thus causing disharmony in our physical and magnetic bodies, paves the way for invasion, and if bacteria and such physical means were the sure and only cause of disease, then indeed there might be but little encouragement not to be afraid. But when we realise that in the worst epidemics only a proportion of those exposed to infection are attacked and that, as we have already seen, the real cause of disease lies in our own personality and is within our control, then have we reason to go about without dread and fearless, knowing that the remedy lies with ourselves. We can put all fear of physical means alone as a cause of disease out of our minds, knowing that such anxiety merely renders us susceptible, and that if we are endeavouring to bring harmony into our personality we need anticipate illness no more than we dread being struck by lightning or hit by a fragment of a falling meteor."

Dr. Edward Bach in “Heal Thyself”, 1931

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Breakfast

This morning was one of those days that my food was SOOO GOOOD I have to talk about it. As the nutrition course instructor I guess I'm expected to eat a certain way, but no matter how healthy, strange, or exotic my food is, I have one huge rule: IT MUST TASTE GOOD!

First, I made a fresh juice of:
1/2 beet with the green tops
3 1/2 apples (I would have used 4 but my kids ate the other 1/2)
3 carrots
7 drops of a kidney yang herbal tonic
1 drop of Cayenne flower essence

Then as I was looking at the other 1/2 of the beet and not wanting to put it away, I chopped it up with the greens and sauteed it in a little ghee (Indian clarified butter) and ume plum vinegar. This went on top of a piece of toast with a quick spritz of black pepper.

MMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!! Sometimes beets are so underrated!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

According to different sources, there are between 500-700 varieties of the eucalyptus tree. This is one reason there are so many eucalyptus essential oils to choose from. The one thing they all have in common is that they work to open and clear the lungs.

Eucalyptus essential oil is great when diffused into the air. It can also be used topically in diluted blends, but should not be taken orally.

The following are some of the common varieties of Eucalyptus Essential Oil that points out subtle differences in them. My favorite White Sage Landing essential oil stock will vary according to high quality organic oils that are available during each growing season.

Eucalyptus globulus: (aka blue gum) respiratory tract infections, arthritis, wounds, purifying the air. One of the most common types.

Eucalyptus citriodora: lemony, cooling, wind-heat (yellow mucous), insect repellent, mild so good choice for children.

Eucalyptus radiatta or E. australiana: (aka Eucalyptus – Peppermint) menthol, infections of sinus, ear, and kidney, vaginitis. Very gentle.

Eucalyptus dives: strongest topical medicinal value but becoming rare and difficult to find good quality. Eucalyptus macarthii is a good substitute.

Eucalyptus polybractea: (aka blue mallee) antimicrobial, expectorant, coughs and throat infections.

Eucalyptus macarthii: great disinfector, joint and muscle pain, respiratory cleanser.

Eucalyptus smithii: diffuse to clear environment of molds and bacteria.

Learn tons of great information from my On-Line Essential Oils Course series. You can study here at our school in Alaska from anywhere in the world!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Taoist 5 Elements Nutrition - Spring

Even though we might not think about it much, the food we eat is a form of medicine in that everything that goes into us has some kind of effect on our body – either therapeutic or harmful, it does something to us. We can begin to look at our diet (lifestyle eating habits) as a powerful way to change our health. From a mind-body-spirit viewpoint, food can be used to affect our physical bodies, our emotions, and our sense of purpose in life.

According to Taoist philosophy and Chinese medicine, the Spring season most strongly affects our Wood Element. This includes our physical Liver, the emotions of anger-frustration-resentment, how we respond to stress, and the spiritual potential of being kind and benevolent. Our Liver stores and cleans toxins out of our blood, so it is very important “spring clean” and support our Liver during this season.When our Liver is clogged up or over saturated with toxins that have built up we can experience a variety of health problems like food intolerances, digestive discomfort, physical pain, moodiness, PMS, deteriorating eyesight, finger and toe nail issues, too much anger, and being overly sensitive to daily stress.

Here are some nutritional suggestions for Spring, Liver/Gall Bladder health, and overall lifestyle considerations:

Suggestion #1: ENJOY your food! What fun is it to eat in a way that isn’t delicious and satisfying? This is all too easy to do with things that are fat and sweet, but what about things that are just good for you, like fruits and vegetables? When you eat healthy, think about how wonderful you are being to yourself.

Suggestion #2: Consciously let your food stimulate all of your senses. For example:

Touch/Feel – cut and prepare your food in a way that feels good to your mouth. Do you love to bite into a whole fresh strawberry, or do you tingle all the way down to your fingertips when you eat chopped strawberry pieces on top of hot oatmeal?

See – use several colors together so that when you look at your food it reminds you of a beautiful painting. Imagine a bright green salad with a little bit of chopped white chicken, deep yellow mango chunks, and a pop of little red cherry tomatoes.

Smell – incorporate your favorite spices so that you savor the smell. Pears sprinkled with ground cardamom… mmmm….

Hear – play some nice background music while you eat. Classical, jazz, or acoustic guitar can create the perfect atmosphere.

Taste – mindfully delight in the flavor of your food. Add some fresh home-grown Basil to a salad or pasta sauce, close your eyes, and thoroughly relish each bite.

Mind – use your sixth sense as an intention to allow your body to absorb all of the healing energy from your food. When you eat fresh greens, chew them well, swallow, and feel their energy washing over your Liver.

If you need any help in this area, watch one of the cooking shows on TV and see how the famous chef’s present beautiful scrumptious works of art on their plates.

Suggestion #3: Try to use locally grown organic foods that are naturally growing from the Earth right now. For Spring this is mainly leafy greens and baby vegetables. From your own yard pick some dandelion leaves (that have not been treated with chemicals), wash them, and either put them in a salad or pour some boiling water over a handful to make an infused herbal tea.

Suggestion #4: A fresh juice of carrots and apples is great for your liver! If you have a home juicer, use 4 carrots, 1 apple, and add a few sprigs of parsley (makes 1 serving). If you don’t have a home juicer, get a chair massage at The Oriental Healing Arts Center then walk across the parking lot to Organic Oasis Restaurant and they will make a great fresh juice for you.

Suggestion #5: Goji berries, also known as Gou Qi Zi in Chinese medicine, are becoming popular and easy to find. Very healing to the Liver (when used in moderation as opposed to excess), they are a great edible “herb”. Cook a tablespoon into your oatmeal, or sauté a small handful with chicken or green beans and walnuts. (available at The Oriental Healing Arts Center)

Suggestion #6: Use the “51% Rule”. With all of the above suggestions, try to do these things 51% of the time. Too great a change can lead to frustration or failure, while incorporating a smaller change can still give you good results and you can realistically succeed!

To learn more about cooking with edible herbs for Spring/Liver health, sign up for my workshop on Saturday May 16, 4-6pm. (see details at www.touchoftao.com)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Hospitals Now Offer Complimentary Alternative Medicine

A career in Complimentary Alternative Medicine includes Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic and more. At The Oriental Healing Arts Center, we all love our jobs! This link is to a great article on how a career in this field is expanding in hospitals, offering wider employement opportunities and income options. Why? Because the public loves us!! (And we love them too!)


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Anxiety, PTSD, OCD & Massage Therapy

By Susette Jenkins L.M.T.

As a licensed massage therapist, working with excess stress and anxiety is a main theme of my practice. I see mild forms of anxiety, in other words clients expressing that they are feeling anxious about work, relationships or taking their upcoming final exam. I also see more severe cases of chronic anxiety and its related counterparts ranging from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder), panic attacks, and depression.

So what is anxiety?
Anxiety is defined as distress, or unease of mind caused by fear or danger of misfortune. Another way to put it is the feelings you have when you are stressed.

With PTSD something triggers a memory and your body reacts as if the threat of the event is happening right now. PTSD can be a result from war, abuse, accident, or natural disaster. In these cases of extreme stresses and fight for survival you do what is necessary to protect and preserve yourself. When life is calm you may not have let go of that wonderful life preserving energy and it is coiled tightly in your body ready for the next attack and as a result you are now overreacting to non-threatening situations.

With OCD you are constantly worrying and doing the same repetitive task over and over again (such as washing you hands, turning a light off and on, or making sure you locked the doors) because it gives you a feeling of control, comfort and security. Again this is a fear-based compulsion because if you weren’t afraid of something why would you need to feel secure?

With panic attacks you can have chest pain, heart palpations, shaking, trouble breathing and sometimes feelings of fear, dread, or going crazy.

People can develop anxiety even if they haven’t been through a traumatic event such as war, abuse, accident or natural disaster. For example, anxiety can manifest from other stressful life situations such as: surgery, pregnancy, miscarriages or childbirths, marriage, divorce, toxic relationships, change of jobs, moving, family illness or the wear and tear of a long term overburdened schedule. It is important to realize that both micro and macro stresses depletes body resources and the energy it needs to function properly.

Depression can occur because you have been in a stressful or anxious state for so long your resources become depleted and you crash.

Truth be told if you look at all the reasons for anxiety the theories are endless (including genetic factors), so let me give it to you from a massage therapist standpoint. Something has happened that has put your body into over-drive. A massage therapist can help restore balance and then enhance health, especially when it is complemented with Oriental medicine techniques and special meditative exercises such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong. I will describe more about this below.

Breathing & Massage
As massage therapists one of the first things we do is to bring awareness to and support proper breathing.

Correct relaxation breathing is the number one way, in my opinion, to alleviate anxiety. When stressed, your breathing shifts to small shallow gasps of air in your chest rather than slow deep abdominal breaths. This can cause neck and shoulder tension because you are using the smaller muscles in your upper body that quickly become exhausted. You have to breathe more rapidly because lungs aren’t completely filling with oxygen so you compensate for the loss which keeps
you in a state of anxiety and desperation.

With abdominal breathing your diaphragm drops, forming a vacuum to allow air to completely fill your lungs. When your lungs fill properly your internal organs are naturally massaged, promoting them to fulfill their vital functions such as de-toxing your blood and absorbing nutrition from your food. Abdominal breathing also pumps lymph and venous blood (blood retuning to the heart) that runs though the abdomen. Deep breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system (the relaxation portion of the nervous system), which allows full dilation all the way down to the cellular levels so even the capillaries (blood vessels one cell thick) are open and able to deliver oxygen and nutrition to every cell in the body.

The Power of Healing Touch
Just being touched is healing in and of itself. It has been proven over time that out of our 5 senses, touch is the one sense that if not satisfied will cause us to perish. Touch is the first sense that develops when we are an embryo. Healing touch can relay compassion, relaxation, and security. Our deep desire for healing touch comes out in our language, like “Let’s keep in touch”. People who are touch deprived (something very common in our non-touch American society) can try to fill the void with other addictions such as food and alcohol.

Getting a weekly massage even for just 15 minutes is a wonderful way to nurture and put yourself at ease. For people who have anxiety because of previous negative touch experiences, building a professional relationship with an understanding massage therapist can be a wonderful experience. During these customized healing sessions (often times fully clothed) you can experience the feeling of safety touch can bring.

Acupressure and Oriental Medicine
Therapists trained in Oriental medicine are able to make energetic assessments to restore health and balance. Meridians are channels of energy that run though the body and connect with all your systems (urinary, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive etc) Acupressure points are the transistors we use to increase or decrease the function of that system or organ thus helping you attain balance and health at a deeper level. For example we have very specific protocols to help headaches, high blood pressure, IBS, insomnia, and depression. In cases of anxiety everyone is different but your therapist has the ability to customize a treatment protocol and wellness program that is right for you. We usually manipulate the points with special massage techniques and we also have a variety of non-needling techniques we can use, such as:

Cupping: A special suction technique to pull out toxins deep in the body.
Moxa: A special herb used to warm acupressure points or meridians.
Gua Sha: A technique that uses jade or bone as massage tools
Auricular therapy: Similar to reflexology this treatments places beads into points in the ears for a healing effect.

Herbs, essential oils, Five Elements nutrition, or special QiGong exercises may also be used to complement your series of healing session.

Emotional Balance
There are extreme emotional components with anxiety because something has “upset” you and caused you to go into overdrive. It could be something physical, emotional or spiritual, conscious or unconscious. The emotions you feel could be fear, anger, grief, worry or even elation (you know the times you just start laughing hysterically and can’t stop before you crash into a depression again).

From an Oriental medicine perspective emotions are simply viewed as information. “Emotion” is derived from the Latin “e-mot” or “outward moving”, meaning the outward expression of inner feelings. When you become tense you can clamp down on that outward movement. Emotions are after all nothing but a chemical reaction inside your body and can be stored in your tissues.

As you relax in a safe place those emotions can release and continue to move out allowing proper body balance and function to be restored. Even if you are not sharing with your massage therapist the emotion you are experiencing during the session they know how to coach you to relax and breathe though the experience allowing you to internally discover balance, peace, bliss and often times deeply personal insights.

Self-Healing and Empowerment
Tai Chi and QiGong are meditative balancing exercises that can either complement your massage session or be stand-alone therapies. Both teach you proper relaxation breathing and meditative body stances. We always encourage our clients who suffer from chronic anxiety or depression to enroll in one of these classes to support them if they have the desire to manage their own health.
Tai Chi is a Chinese style of martial arts preformed slowly. You may have seen it practiced in the parks around town or on TV. It builds strength and endurance. How it directly applies to anxiety is that it teaches you how to relax under stress so you don’t clamp down on your emotions. Tai Chi takes commitment but you are getting more than exercise. You are teaching your body through movement not only how to be appropriately assertive and protect yourself and be smooth, harmonious and relaxed in the world.

QiGong means “Energy Work”. There are thousands of QiGong exercises. Each is designed to do something different such as lowering high blood pressure or strengthening your tendons. My favorite for anxiety is a QiGong called Ba Duan Jin translating as “8 precious movements for longevity”. Each movement is designed to nurture your internal organs and bring overall balance. It is simple and easy to learn and wonderful to do to transform anxiety and rise above depression.

How to get started:
Please visit us at the Oriental Healing Arts Center 2636 Spenard Rd.
Walk in Services available 7 days a week
Full body healing sessions are available by appointment. We have several levels of therapists to serve you.

General Relaxation Massages and Rejuvenation:
Walk-in Chair Massage & Reflexology foot spa: are available on a walk in basis open Mon-Sat 9am –10pm and Sundays Noon-8pm. This is the best service to alleviate immediate pains and anxieties until a full body session can be scheduled.

Student Clinic: Relax while helping one of our students learn to be a licensed therapist. Students practice daily Qi Gong and meditation and the foundation of oriental medicine and acupressure. Please understand that students are practicing a general relaxation and rejuvenation massage and may not treat serious medical conditions.

Professional: Our top graduates until they have acquired 2 years of experience. Professionals can start customizing their massage towards specific individuals for relaxation and rejuvenation. Hour and a half session’s available.

Therapists Qualified for Therapeutic Treatments & Cases of Chronic Anxiety:

Oriental Healing Massage Therapist:

At least 2years of experience
Additional training in oriental medicine and non-needling techniques
Practice daily meditation and self cultivations of Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga
Many have studied in China or with Chinese masters
Have the ability to customize a session right for you.

Master Massage Therapist:
At least 5 years of experience
Additional training in Oriental medicine and non-needling techniques
Practice daily meditation and self cultivations of Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga
Have studied in China or with Chinese masters
Have achieved a higher level of Cultivation and Intuition
Have the ability to customize a session right for you.

Master Healer & Spiritual Director:
25 years experience in the Taoist Arts (Chinese Medicine)
Tai Chi & QiGong Master and Instructor
Herbal Consultations
Sees the root of the disease on the spiritual level
Specializes in: Energy Healing, Qi Healing, Spiritual Healing
Serious requests only

Susette Jenkins is an Oriental Healing Massage therapist at the Oriental Healing Arts Center. She works with Anxiety and Depression as well as PMS, IBS, Headaches and Fibromyalgia. She is available for workshops and teaches Tai Chi and Ba Duan Jin Qi Gong on Wednesday Nights 7:30-8:30pm
Other Beginner Tai Chi, QiGong classes available 7 days a week. For more information visit our Center or web site at www.touchoftao.com

Anxiety & Acupuncture

By Paulette Marin, D.O.M., L.Ac.

While conventional medicine is primarily concerned with a physical reason or cause of symptoms, Acupuncture, as a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, looks for mind-body-spirit links to chronic illness. Even though many of the symptoms are physical, we look for an emotional or spiritual disharmony going on that corresponds to the physical message the body is producing. Acupuncture treats both the physical body and emotional mind at the same time, seeing no separation between the two.

An acupuncturist will do an in-depth health intake that focuses strongly on your lifestyle, as inappropriate lifestyle is seen as the main cause of disease. Specifically, some of the main causes of disease are:

1 Improper diet
2 Too much work
3 Not enough rest/sleep
4 Too much emotional upset
5 Lifestyle not harmonious with external environment

An energetic diagnosis will be made based on the relative strength or weakness of your internal organs from a Chinese Medicine point of view, and the relationship of your internal organs in working harmoniously with each other. An acupuncturist will then use a variety of treatment techniques including things such as very fine needles, herbal formulas, and qigong exercises to re-balance your mind-body-spirit system. Often, lifestyle is addressed to show how changes in some areas will help to alleviate your symptoms.

A basic energetic view of anxiety is a disconnection or lack of communication between Fire (the heart) and Water (the kidneys). Fear is the emotion most associated with the Water element. Usually we can point to something we are afraid of, like heights, or snakes, or the dark. Joy is the emotion associated with the Fire (the heart). Anxiety lives more in that connection between the Fire and Water.

Anxiety can be a bit more free-floating than fear, and is sometimes harder to define. In the ancient Chinese classic text, the Ling Shu, anxiety is described as the feeling of going too far or too fast. We probably have all experienced that feeling at one time or another. If it becomes a chronic state of being however, disharmonies in one’s health can occur.

As the Water energy of the body, located in the pelvic area, is heavy, calm, and acts an anchor for the heart (Fire). The Fire energy of the body, located in the chest, is light and energetic. Imagine a strong anchor holding a balloon on a string. Water energy would be the anchor and Fire energy would be the balloon. The balloon string is the connection between the two. When chronic anxiety symptoms occur, there is an energetic image of the anchor (Water) not being strong enough to hold onto the balloon (Fire). The balloon is shaking or let loose as the anchor struggles to regain control of it. The acupuncturist will re-establish control of the balloon (Fire).

Acupuncture has been shown to be a highly effective treatment for symptoms of anxiety when used alone, and the effectiveness can be increased with the use of Chinese herbal formulas and the practice of special QiGong exercises and Tai Chi.

Paulette Marin is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, and Director of the Acupuncture Program at The Oriental Healing Arts School of Massage Therapy.

Anxiety: Herbal Tea & Meditation

By Karen Eckman, LMT

Herbal tea and meditation are two of the best natural fixes for anxiety. The drinking of beverages stimulates our digestion, which is associated with feeling grounded and secure. Two of the most recommended herbs for anxiety are Valerian and Kava Kava (be sure not to use Kava Kava if you have Liver disease). Both are very easy to find at the store. A favorite anxiety tea is chamomile, valerian and lemon zest, about a teaspoon total steeped in hot water for five minutes. Another blend is valerian, thyme, and lavender. These are meant to aid relaxation short term, so only use occasionally or for periods shorter than two months. Longer than that can increase anxiety, which is where meditation comes in.

Think of meditation as the quick fix you can do any time. Allow yourself the opportunity to turn away from outside stressors and focus on your inner calm. Take a moment to close your eyes and breathe. Notice if your breath is high in your chest. If it is, allow yourself to relax and move your breath to your belly. Now take a moment to take a mini vacation. Imagine you are on a beach somewhere warm. Use your five senses to bring you to your beach. You see bright sun, calm sparkling water, birds, and a long stretch of beach where you are all alone to relax. Feel the sand between your toes. Feel the wind caressing your skin. All you can here is the gentle waves, and the sounds of birds. Perhaps you can taste the salt on the air and the feeling of the warm air going in and out on your breath. You smell the sun and the salt and the clean fresh air. Take time to observe the crispness of the colors around you, especially the blue of the sky and the water. Whenever you are here at your private beach, everything is in its place and you don’t have any cares. You beach is just for you, private and safe. You can even imagine the perfect beach blanket or beach chair to relax on. Make this your private oasis for you to use anytime.

Also fun and very effective is to combine the two. Prepare your tea and make time, ten to fifteen minutes to sit, sip your tea, and spend some time at your own secluded place. Visualization has a wonderful effect on your physiology, and has the magic to take you any place you want to go. Even to a calmer peace of mind. “

Karen Eckman is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Herbal Apprentice at The Oriental Healing Arts Center. 907-279-0135

Anxiety & Tai Chi

By Lao Shih Clint Seyer

What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an excess condition arising from our internal relationship with external affairs. Anxiety is the uneasiness caused by our acquired insecurity of the unknown based on past experiences. A pre-anxiety state is initiated when the mind focuses on unfavorable “What if...” outcomes of a future interaction, desire or event. The thought of “What if...” becomes “charged” with emotional distress from internalized emotional trauma of past experience. When a thought becomes emotionally “charged”, it inflames a sense of urgency to the “What if...” thought, making it appear more real. This charged reaction generates a sense of insecurity (threat). This mental/emotional “perception” signals the body to constrict into a hyper-alert survival mode (tension) resulting in the physical manifestations of anxiety. When these energetic psycho/emotional/biological elements fuse we experience a fully manifested state of anxiety (energetic excess).

Anxiety trademarks include: overall muscle tension and constriction, quick shallow breathing, stomach upset, “butterflies” or nausea, obsessive thought, hyper-sensitivity, headaches, high blood pressure, perspiration or cold sweats, nervousness, emotional withdrawal, irrationality or irritability and in extreme cases “panic attacks”. Simply put, a condition of anxiety is initiated when the mind focuses on what could happen and not what is happening. Over time, this pattern becomes our primary template of internal response to external interactions, desires and/or events. When this occurs, anxiety becomes a chronic disharmony that will diminish our quality of life. However, we have a choice of how we feel and respond. We can re-invent our response patterns through the time-proven oriental healing arts.

The tonic to prevent or alleviate anxiety lies in intervention, education, re-training internal patterns and mindful awareness. Intervention may include massage, herbal support, and counseling. Opportunities for understanding life’s energetic principles are available through workshops at the Oriental Healing Arts Center. Re-training of thought, emotional and lifestyle patterns can be learned through Tai Chi, Qigong and meditation classes. The community at the Oriental Healing Arts Center invites you to explore the many avenues for positive intervention, education and training available.

Tai Chi and Qigong cultivate self-empowering practices we can use to defuse the spiraling cycles of anxiety. The anxiety cycle begins with a consciousness of uneasiness heightened by emotional distress, manifesting in physical tension that focuses the mind on the heightened uneasiness adding more emotional charge and creating more tension. While anxiety is a normal response to uncomfortable situations, unchecked it can become self destructive to one’s desired goals. Finding ways to manage anxiety through internal intervention offers many rewarding opportunities for enrichment, success and satisfaction in life. Tai Chi and Qigong cultivate the profound mental and physical skills to alleviate anxiety in the student.

The first intervention is awareness which is a primary benefit of learning Tai Chi and Qigong. We can not take action for self care if we do not realize we need self care. It is common to underestimate or ignore our stress levels. These practices effectively elevate the mind’s sensitivity to one’s state of relaxation or disharmony. Students cultivating awareness can intervene earlier and more effectively to defuse anxiety through acquired Tai Chi and Qigong relaxation techniques.

As anxiety’s internal tension manifests, the student is trained to respond with slow, deep, mindful breathing that is essential to the practices of Tai Chi and Qigong. The breathing techniques are not simply “taking a break”, but a specific, focused and intentional technique with a predictable outcome of relaxation. This occurs because the mind can only focus attention on a single conscious thought in any one moment. When the mind focuses internally on slowing and “lowering” the breath, the engaged mind quiets. This detaches the consciousness from the “external” distress and enhances biological events that encourage a state of relaxation. The spiraling energetic excesses of anxiety begin to reverse.

As the agitated mind/body state eases, the Taoist arts student has several options to further restore calm within. One option is mindful detached observation and release of mental/emotional/muscle tension. Another is Qigong; a discipline of coordinating mind, breath and simple movement and posture. Tai Chi provides a series of whole-body meditative movements in harmony with the breath. With these options, the mind calms, the body relaxes, and emotional charges subside. This allows one to observe difficult circumstances with a receptive, quiet mind rather than drown in escalating mind chatter. This ability to quiet the mind, invites clarity, inspiration and insight and with it; empowerment. With practice, students develop new, healthy stress-response patterns that bring calm, confidence and opportunity to personal challenges.

These mindful and empowering disciplines are mastered through Tai Chi and Qigong training. As the student internalizes these arts, life becomes easier, more fulfilling and harmonious. As successes grow with practice, the mind and body respond more easily and quickly because they work and have for millions over countless centuries. My tai chi/qigong students often comment on their increased sense of confidence, enjoyment and self reliance from their training. They cultivate skills that offer an alternative to stress, anxiety and crisis thinking. Learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable and create opportunity over your anxiety.

Clint Seyer

Anxiety & Massage Therapy

By Adam Butler, LMT
We live in a world of instant communications, express shipping, and drive- through everything. We can board a plane at dawn and be virtually anywhere in the world by the time the sun sets. Yet in this world of ever increasing speed, it seems that one thing we cannot escape is stress. Work, school, family, the economy; sometimes it seems that we are under a constant bombardment from all sides. All these constant pressures translate into stress which builds up in the body until the stress overloads the system.

Most people are aware of the physical manifestations of too much stress, knotted muscles and physical fatigue, but many people are unaware that too much stress also manifests mentally and emotionally. One of the most common psycho-emotional manifestations of stress is anxiety. Anxiety is an internal response to stress and includes symptoms of fear, apprehension, and worry as well as physical sensations such as palpitations, chest pain, sweating, and/or shortness of breath.

While it is normal for everyone to experience some degree of anxiety in their lives, more and more people are developing anxiety disorders and experience intense and prolonged periods of distress and uneasiness, often for no apparent reason. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people, including 40 million adult Americans, are affected by anxiety disorders and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 major depression, which includes anxiety disorders, will be second only to heart disease as the leading cause of disability worldwide.

It’s pretty clear that this is significant problem that is greatly affecting the lives of many people. So, what can massage do to help? One of the major ways massage helps to relieve anxiety is by relieving the stress that is often an underlying cause for the anxiety. Massage has been used for this purpose since ancient times by every culture on Earth. While this is significant in and of itself, research has shown that the benefits of massage extend beyond just stress relief. Numerous studies have demonstrated that massage decreases depressed moods, anxiety levels, and stress hormones and a study comparing massage to other relaxation techniques showed that while all the techniques studied resulted in lower anxiety levels, the group receiving massage additionally showed changes in behavior and stress hormone levels.

So for anyone suffering under the burden of an anxiety disorder, or for anyone who feels the pace of life is leaving them behind, remember there is something safe and natural to be done. The gentle, comforting, nurturing touch of a massage therapist can help you shed your unease. A caring touch is just a phone call away.

Adam Butler is available by appointment for Massage Therapy at 907-279-0135.

Friday, February 27, 2009

An Energy Experience

Sometimes when I'm doing my Tai Chi and the energy flow feels really good, I get small beads of sweat on the tips of my fingers. Up until now, Tai Chi is the only time this has happened.

Last night in our advanced Medical QiGong class, we were trading out with a partner on an Energy Tonification Pattern. It's a fairly intense treatment that starts with doing an hour of Tai Chi and QiGong as a warm up, then ending with the energy treatment.

I gave the treatment to my partner first - it is done in standing meditation Wu Ji posture. This consists of basically using a Tai Chi sung technique to get the person into a relaxed state, tapping up and down the meridian pathways to stimulate the Qi, energetically guiding the Qi through the meridian pathways, then emitting Qi to the 3 dan tians ending with Bai Hui at the crown of the head. As I was giving the treatment I had very strong energetic sensations in my hands.

When it was my turn to receive the treatment, I experienced the initial energetic connection as a hum that eventually turned into a full-body vibration. The vibration was so strong that I felt an incredible urge to let it move me, but that would have been inappropriate in the class so I suppressed the urge. The vibration was hot, and I could feel the beads of sweat forming on my fingertips which then intensified the energetic sensations in my hands.

It felt like swirls of energy were coming down from above my head and cascading all the way around me into the Earth. The swirls seemed to envelop the vibration and keep me wrapped in it. I felt GREAT!

I love this work!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Medical acupuncture

A little about medical acupuncture.

The pathway of information was from China to France, then to the US. It got modified and reorganized in France, and adapted to the American mind and environment.
The major concept is that of the body as a series of circuits. They are of course (in the sequential order within the circuit):
1. Shao Yin/Tai Yang -> Kidney, Heart, Small Intestine, Bladder, which is responsible for structure and foundation.
2. Jue Yin/Shao Yang -> Liver, Pericardium, Triple Burner, Gall Bladder, which is reponsible for movement.
3. Tai Yin/Yang Ming -> Spleen/Pancreas, Lung, Large Intestine, Stomach, which is reponsible for replenishment.
4. Curious meridians are viewed as circuits as well and are plugged into the whole structure as needed

5. Direct meridians is term given to the braches that go directly to the Yin/Yang organs, and a specific program is used for those
6. Tendinomuscular meridians are activated separately
7. Five-Element theory is incorporated as a separate entity
8. Reflex areas taught more often are: ear, scalp, hand

Treatment is based on the 12 personalities corresponding to the 12 organs as well. Interview, pulse, and tongue used as well as medical diagnoses.

Diagnosis and energy movement are done along these circuits by creating a directed energetic imbalance towards Yin or Yang in appropriate circuits. Frequently, electricity is used to augment the effect, especially for more dense material problems. Lower frequencies being tonifying, middle moving, and higher purging.

There are additional techniques, such as periosteal stimulation, scar injections or trigger point therapy that are often used along with the more traditional modalities, such as moxa (or just infrared heat).

Most of the time, although thought process is slightly different, point selection is similar to more traditional acupuncture techniques.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

QiGong for Weight Loss

An explanation of the philosophy of Weight Loss from a Taoist and Holistic point of view:


From a natural point of view, weight loss is largely based on taking in excellent nutrition, assimilating the nutrients efficiently, and assuring there is appropriate mind-body exercise. Let's briefly explore these below:

First, what are you taking into yourself? This includes food, drink, medications, herbs, vitamins, and anything else going into your mouth. It is generally agreed that overeating and having a sweet tooth are responsible for weight gain. HOWEVER... both overeating and having a sweet tooth are actually your body's cry for good nutrition. You want to eat more because you're not getting enough nutrients in the food you are eating. And if you have ever been to a farm or eaten very fresh fruits and vegetables, notice that even the vegetables have an incredibly delicious natural sweet flavor. THIS is the sweet that your body is truly craving. When you don't get enough proper nutrition to begin with, of course your body is going to tell you to eat more! And when you crave sweet and you eat sugar you aren't getting the natural sweetness found in farm fresh produce, so of course your body keeps craving sweet!

Second, is your digestive system strong enough to assimilate and use the nutrients you are taking in? Answer the following questions:

1. Do you have between 1 to 3 daily bowel movements? If you do not have at least 1 daily bowel movement your intestines are moving too slowly and you are constipated. If you have more than 3 daily bowel movements your intestines may be moving too quickly and need to be strengthened.

2. Is your stool well-formed, or is it muddy, loose, or watery? If it is not well-formed and easy to release, you need to strengthen your digestive system.

3. Does your stool have a very strong and offensive odor? (not that poop smells good, but an especially offensive smell can indicate issues that need to be resolved.)

4. After you eat is your digestive process comfortable or do you experience bloating, belching, gas, discomfort, or "noises"?

5. Do you have any problems with acid reflux or heartburn?

6. Do you have food allergies or intolerances (other than shellfish)? If so, your digestive system may be so overworked that it can't handle anything that takes an effort to break down. Once you strengthen it back up these allergies will disappear.

Third, are you getting enough appropriate physical movement? Lack of movement encourages internal stagnation, and stagnation is a breeding ground for disease. Our bodies REQUIRE movement as much as we require air and water. From a Taoist point of view, appropriate movement provides a mind-body connection. This type of exercise includes QiGong, Tai Chi, Yoga, and most martial arts. In contrast, inappropriate movement is anything done where your body is doing one thing and your mind is doing something else. For example, if you are jogging on the treadmill and watching TV at the same time, this is a mind-body disconnect. Interestingly enough, several studies have shown that people who practice the above mind-body exercises tend to take very good care of themselves and cultivate lifestyle and eating habits that are very healthy.

I have to add something about reduced calorie diets and excess exercise. According to Chinese medicine, a major reason for excess weight is due to an underlying deficiency in the Water Element. In basic terms, your body doesn't have enough energy to process what you are taking in. Reduced calorie diets provide even less energy and nutrition to someone already in a deficient state - not a good situation to be in. On the same line, someone with an underlying energy deficiency that tries to exercise too much will eventually burn out. Here I am talking about harsh physical exercise like going to the gym, not mind-body exercise. Appropriate exercise should leave you feeling alive, refreshed, and wonderfully strong. If this is not the case, it may not be approrpriate to your situation.

For an inspiring workshop that includes Dragon QiGong & Acupressure for Weight Loss, see

QiGong for Weight Loss
Sat. 1/17/09
$35, dress comfortably for gentle movement
Register on-line,
www.touchoftao.com or at the door

Monday, January 5, 2009

Winter Teas and Tisanes

Come join us for an evening of winter warmers!

Come discover new ways of warming yourself from the inside out! We will take a surprising and delightful exploration into the rich history of herbal teas and tisanes. Come touch, taste, and smell new ways of harmonizing with our unique winter weather!
Saturday January 10th
730-900 pm $35.00
At the Oriental Healing Arts Center

Let us satisfy your tea curiosity!
Call today to register!
Or register online @ touchoftao.com
The Oriental Healing Arts Center
2636 Spenard Road
Anchorage Alaska