Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blood Building Herbs for Spring & Eyes

Herbs: Hong Zao, Gou Qi Zi, Dang Gui, Gan Cao

So many people love the Blood Building Syrup we make for the colder Winter season I decided to do a new one for Spring.  This is much lighter and moves upward instead of downward like the heavy winter syrup.  Enjoy!

The Hong Zao and Gou Qi Zi both tonify blood, and the Gou Qi Zi is especially good for eyesight.  I like this aspect because Spring is the time of the Wood Element, and Wood includes our eyes and any physical vision issues we may have.

To accentuate the blood building aspect I touched the formula with Dang Gui - which I love, and then added a very small amount of Gan Cao to guide the herbs up to nourish the eyes.


1 cup Hong Zao (Chinese Red Dates)
1/2 cup Gou Qi Zi (Goji Berries)
1-2 g Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis)
1-2 g Gan Cao (Licorice Root)
750 ml Brandy (Vodka or Sake can be substituted if desired)

1.  Place the dried herbs in a 1 quart  mason jar.

2.  Pour the brandy in, up to where the jar starts to curve. You need to leave room to gently swish the herbs around.

3.  Put the lid on and move to a cool dark space.

4.  Gently swish/roll the jar every day for 4-6 weeks.

5.  Strain and press out all the liquid which is now the herbal "wine".  You can discard the herbs, or cook with the berries if you want.  Store this in a jar in a dark cool place.

DOSAGE: 1 spoonful (1 Tbsp) in water 1x/day up to 6 days/week.

If you are adverse to alcohol, put the spoonful of wine into a small amount of just-boiled water to burn it off, which still keeps the medicinal properties of the herbs.

Who should take this?  This is a great formula to nourish weak eyes or blurry vision.  It can also be used to help improve feeling tired, creaky joints, brittle fingernails, feeling cold often, and chronic muscle pain that doesn't respond to massage.

Cautions/Contraindications:  Pregnant women, those taking other medications - including Birth Control Pills - or herbs, and those with High Blood Pressure should always consult with a qualified herbalist before taking any herbs.  Otherwise this is a generally safe formula for most people.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A brief overview, and my personal experience with moxa


An Overview

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine (TMC) technique which using the burning of mugwort. There are several varieties; Direct, both scarring and non scarring, where the moxa is placed directly on the skin and burned until it becomes too hot, or with the scarring method it is left to burn completely. Indirect utilizes moxa poles, moxa on an insulating medium, warming the needle, and warming instruments. It can be used with needles and is commonly paired with acupuncture. Non scarring and indirect styles are what we commonly see here in America. In TCM the aim is to free qi and blood, disperse cold, eliminate damp, and warm yang. It moves things that are stuck, and causes activity. It is also known for it’s ability to ward off disease.

Common Uses
Moxibustion can treat many conditions, including:

• Headaches/Migraines• Back Pain• Joint and Wrist Pain• Muscular Tension• Digestive Irregularities • Irritable Bowel Syndrome• Menstrual Problems• Elimination Problems• Neck Pain• Shoulder Pain• Stress Relief and Stress Management• Tinnitus• Insomnia

Skin conditions
Moxibustion is well known for it's use in dealing with skin conditions, such as bruising, cuts, whiteheads, and psoriasis. In these cases, a moxa pole is used for usually 5-15 minutes to indirectly apply heat over the affected area. It brings blood and Qi to the area which accelerates the healing. It also works to pull toxins out of boils.

Muscular Tension and Pain
Moxibustion does wonders for shoulder and back pain. The warmth from the moxa penetrates deep into the muscles and has a very soothing effect. Moxa also breaks up stagnation and invigorates the blood, which can help relieve the ache. Just by bringing awareness and healing energy to your pain you can sometimes help release it.

Moxibustion for Energy & Mood
A Personal Experience
This is something I've seen be very effective in myself. I have Lymes Disease and suffer from chronic fatigue and occasional low mood. Moxa has some very nice energetic properties. In class we practiced an indirect technique called a belly bowl. The moxa was in hollow stick form and placed in a small bowl which kept it raised slightly from my skin. The bowl had holes in it to enable the heat and smoke travel deep into my core.

We did this outside on a wonderful sunny March day. After Cynthia, my teacher, lit the moxa and placed it in the bowl it was set about an inch above my navel. Within the first minute I started feeling a sensation, as if there was a spring in my core and it was tightening slowly. I felt myself being filled with potential energy.
This sensation continued on even after the moxa was removed, and I was extremely energized all week. I was more motivated than I had been all season. This led to me getting many tasks done that I had been putting off, even a few hiking trips over the next two weeks. I felt great and I give credit to moxa. I would be interested to know if anyone else with chronic fatigue sees results with this. Please feel free to leave a comment with your experiences and any questions.

Moxa should not be used on anyone who is fasting, has just overeaten, or is intoxicated. Pregnant women should not receive moxibustion on their abdomen or lower back, and all other use should be performed by professional. Moxa should not be used any where that is inflamed or exhibiting fire signs. It should also not be used over blood vessels, arteries, mucus membranes, prominent skin creases, or anywhere on the face. It is not to be used over an active tumor. Anyone with an aggressive personality or in an irritable state should not use it either, it can be too invigorating. Not contraindicated but use caution with high blood pressure. A note for belly bowl moxa, if you are near your cycle it can jump start it.

Fundamentals of Chinese Acupuncture by Ellis - Wiseman - Boss

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Digestive Massage

Digestive Massage Treatment

What happens when you combine Massage Therapy and Oriental medicine? Awesomeness!

Meet one of our new Dream Team members, Starla Brewer, LMT.  Our Dream Team therapists are some of our best alumni who are mentoring directly under our instructors to learn and practice combination Massage Therapy and Oriental medicine non-needle techniques for specific symptoms.

This month Starla is offering our special Digestive Massage Treatment, 45-minutes, only $65.  Here’s what she has to say about it:

“I was drawn to this treatment due to 1st hand experience I’ve had with digestive issues.  I didn’t realize what a difference it would make until going to massage school here and doing the treatment in class. Until my digestion started to actually feel good, I didn’t even know how not-good it had been.

I really like doing this treatment because people have so many digestive issues.  Many people get surgery for them.  This treatment is a really nice way to help. It also reminds people that self-care is important.

People usually feel good immediately after the treatment, but it’s especially noticeable over the next few days when you eat and have a different experience – noticeably better.  This is some of the feedback I’ve gotten from people:
·        * Feel so good I don’t have the desire to eat foods that normally bother me.
·        * Less bloating.
·        * Tightness and heaviness is gone, don’t feel weighed down.
·        * Can feel things loosening up and moving instead of just sitting in my intestines.
·        * Feel overall better, more energy.
·        * Happy! It’s a happiness you get when your body is doing something it’s supposed to.

Also, several people have reported that it relieved their low back pain.  It seems that if there’s constipation or slow digestion, that build up puts pressure on the low back from the inside.

Here’s what I do in the treatment:

·        - Back massage first, Tui Na Acupressure style, to open one of the main meridians in the body to get the energy flowing, and it also prepares the body for the treatment.
 - After turning face up, I do some gentle rubbing/warming through the sheet.
 - Your abdomen is very modestly exposed.

 - First there is an abdominal massage with oil.  Sometimes I use essential oils on a case-by-case basis, or if you request them.  I tend to not use essential oils if someone’s digestion and constitution is very delicate, or if someone is to the point of considering surgery.  In those cases you have to be really careful.
  - Next I do some Cupping – either gliding cup, or static cups if you have chronic constipation or need something more intense.  This really gets things moving nicely!
 - Then I like to end with gentle abdominal massage again.

Most people report they get noticeable results over the next 2-3 days.
  If someone really wants to improve problem digestion, I recommend they get this done at least 3-6 weeks in a row, or until you can maintain good digestion on your own.  The idea is to get your digestion moving efficiently on its own so you only need this as a general health maintenance tune-up once each season.“