Acupuncture and Herb Clinic
WEIGHT-LOSS BOOT CAMP!
Weight loss is a simple equation: Eat less, exercise more = reduction of weight! What holds most people back is lack of discipline and determination. This is not surprising in our self-indulgent, consumer-oriented culture. Most contemporary Americans have a sense of entitlement. They have been brainwashed by advertising to believe that they "deserve" to eat unhealthy food and spend far too much time watching TV, texting, playing computer games, etc. THERE ARE NO COUCH POTATOES IN NATURE! You need to get in touch with your CISTERNA CHYLI!
As a child growing up in the early 1950’s, it was highly unusual for me to see someone who was obese. Just about everyone was able to tuck their shirts or blouses into their pants. Now the common fashion for women are tops which resemble maternity clothing.
TIME FOR A CHANGE?
A. Vegan diet until you reach your desired weight. No root vegetables except raw carrots.
B. Avoid the nightshade family if you have joint issues: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and of course potatoes.
C. NO DAIRY PRODUCTS.
D. NO GRAINS, especially bread, pasta, and cereals.
E. Use water or bone or vegetable stock to cook with. (Bone stock is OK on this diet.)
2. THINGS TO AVOID
A. ALL PROCESSED FOODS. (Canned, frozen, packaged.)
B. Restaurant food for the first month or so.
C. SMOOTHIES: These cold, sweet concoctions are not healthy for the digestive system.
D. Iced beverages. All beverages should be room temperature or hot.
E. Tropical fruit except lemons, limes, and grapefruit.
F. Condiments except miso, a little organic tamari, and lemon juice. Freshly ground flax seeds, nutritional yeast powder, and all culinary herbs are great!
Choose something you enjoy and can safely do every day. Make it simple. If in doubt, consult with your Western medical Doctor. Walking is a good exercise for most people. But there are thousands of simple, effective ways to exercise. Don’t put this off; do it now!
4. SLEEP HYGIENE
As our wise grandmothers taught: Early to bed, early to rise. Be in bed no later than 10pm and out no later than 6am. If you wake later than 6, it is twice as difficult to lose weight.
A. Make it simple: In monasteries, all food is simple. Brothy soups, simple broth or water sautes, and steamed vegetables are easy to prepare. They also help us get in touch with the delicious flavors inherent in the food.
B. Eat organic: Organic vegetables have 300 to 500 times more nutrients than non-organic, and it is the nutrients which give food true flavor. That is why wildlife are attracted to fresh food! Once your tastebuds are adapted, you will no longer find the taste of condiments appealing.
C. Avoid unhealthy substitutions. Almond, hemp, and soy “milks” in boxes are entertaining but not sustaining. Like their soup counterparts, they have been ultra-pasteurized for shelf life, which means they cannot possibly support your life. They also create more garbage pollution.
D. Keep a record of your weight and/or measurements. It is fun to see the pounds melt away and feel your body come alive. It is very nice to make life in the kitchen much simpler.
E. For moral support, watch “Forks over Knives,” “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” and “Fried Green Tomatoes.”
F. DON’T PROCRASTINATE. One feature I have observed since I began helping people with their health in 1994 is that obese people are great procrastinators. They will commonly use one or more of the following excuses:
I want to finish all the food in the house first. (This generally never happens.)
I want to wait until I have the right cookbook, personal trainer, etc.
I will begin when…..
I am too upset to tackle this right now.
OBESITY, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, ARTHRITIS, DIABETES, DEMENTIA, AND CANCER ARE RELATED. This is a medical fact.
Our over-crowded and polluted planet is a reflection of our gluttony and poor planning. Most modern people have too many material possessions and too little time. Once you begin to lose your bad eating habits, you should find yourself wanting to help your home environment as well. Getting rid of clutter and reducing unnecessary stimulation (TV, texting, etc.), will give you more time to enjoy the beauty of nature. We live in an amazing place. Join the growing number of people who have come to look forward to walks in the park and by the rivers, and/or hiking in the mountains. Watch the wildlife and the plants. They are profound examples of the potential life force in all living things. How do wild animals survive terrible heat, cold, smoke, starvation? The strength that is in them is in all of us. If you are in doubt, watch the BBC production “Human Planet.”
“'Tis a gift to be simple, ‘tis a gift to be free, ‘tis a gift to come down where we all should be. And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘twill be in the garden of love and delight...”
In September, the earth travels towards its Equinox position in the solar orbit. Gradually, we experience longer nights and a decline in daytime temperatures. Even when we reach triple digits, the hot part of the day is later and shorter than during the height of summer. The Yin, or cooling energy, is building as the Yang (warm, sunny energy) is waning.
During this month, young people return to school. Parents and college students enjoy shopping for study materials and clothes in our local stores. As indoor activity increases, the opportunity for the transmission of viruses and other infectious diseases begins to increase. Children and elders are especially vulnerable. But adults who burn their candles at both ends also are at high risk. This is because immunity is directly related to energy. Indeed, many of the Qi or energy tonic herbs are also tonics for the immune system.
Lifestyle choices which enhance immunity include a good diet with lots of vegetables and greatly reduced carbohydrates, especially concentrated sweeteners. Food should be taken warm to maintain a good supply of warmth to support immunity. Smoothies, commonly thought of as “healthy,” are cold and sweet and weaken the pancreas and “spleen” energy in Chinese medicine. A warm breakfast is the more sensible approach. Tea made from organic, fresh ginger root is an excellent tonic for the stomach and help to circulate Qi throughout the body.
In any year with prolonged forest fires, smoke is challenging. Inhaled smoke weakens the lungs and creates many free-radicals in the body. Vigorous exercises like running, bike riding, fast-paced hiking, and power-walking only serve to weaken the lungs more when done in smoky conditions. When pathogens are inhaled, the stage is set for infection and respiratory illness. Because the lungs are a vital aspect of the immune system and our energy, it is advisable to wear a surgical mask when there is visible smoke against the distant mountains. A drop of eucalyptus oil on the mask near the place where the nostrils are also provides a tonic experience for the lungs. Increasing the consumption of onions and garlic is good for the lungs. Organic shitake mushrooms, eaten daily, are also a great boost to the immune system.
Our clinic offers strategies for building stressed lungs with acupuncture, gua sha, cupping, and seven star needle treatments. In addition, there are a variety of herbal formulas which help to strengthen the lungs. These must be individually prescribed, as each person’s needs are different. However, we also carry Standard Process Emphaplex, which is a sophisticated nutritional formula designed to heal lung tissue. It contains Catalyn, the Standard Process “multi-nutrient.” Catalyn was designed by Dr. Royal Lee over 80 years ago as a catalyst for the endocrine system. Emphaplex also contains Drenamin, which is a nutritional formula that supports adrenal health and the rebuilding of the adrenal glands. A third ingredient is Pneumotrophin PMG. This “protomorphogen,” or chromosomal template for the lung tissue, profoundly helps to regenerate lung tissue. Emphaplex also contains Phosfood, which, among other things, supports healthy thyroid function for healthy metabolism/immunity. Finally, it contains Protofood, which supports general tissue rebuilding. This supplement is available to individuals on a drop-in basis, as it supports the body in general and specifically supports lung function. It can replace a multi-nutrient supplement while lung support is needed. Individuals with a history of smoking (tobacco or cannabis) find it very beneficial.
Simple measures like wearing a scarf around the neck on chilly mornings support good immunity! Why? Because the acupuncture point “Da Zhui” is located in the cervical neck area. This point accumulates Yang, or warming, and defensive Qi. When weakened by cold and/or wind, even a slight breeze, the individual’s immunity is reduced. So how does one convince their children to wear a scarf? Some kids enjoy wearing scarves related to football teams or favorite themes in their lives. But, most of all, it is important for parents to teach their children these skills. This will translate into fewer sick days for both children and their parents and great financial savings!
My grandmother taught us, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Having followed this advise for most of my life, I must say that my health, if not my wealth, has benefited. The best time to be in bed and ready to sleep is no later than 10 pm. The best time to be awake and getting out of bed is no later than 6 am. If your work schedule does not permit this, as mine did from time to time, do not get depressed! It simply means you have to be more diligent in other aspects of your health. Remember, going to bed late interferes with the repair of the body. Rising late encourages phlegm and obesity.
A final note. Our clinic also offers several ways for you to assist your immune system. The “People’s Herbs Five Mushroom Formula” is an excellent example. One of my colleagues gave this to his mother, who was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive terminal cancer. She took it along with her chemotherapy, continued to exercise moderately, and died peacefully at the age of 94. This was 18 years longer than the Oncologist had predicted. Currently, one of our patients is using this formula as part of a Lyme/Bartonella infection protocol. The report from the patient indicates a noticeable improvement in all symptoms since starting the Five Mushroom Formula.
We also carry Immuplex. This is a nutritional supplement which builds a healthy immune system. Like all of our immune-supporting strategies, it is broad spectrum. This means that it protects against whatever challenges us. In the 13 years I have been in practice, I have only missed one day of work due to respiratory illness. My recovery from that illness was swift, thanks to Chinese medicine.
In addition to these, we offer Chinese herbs in patent form as well as custom-blended granules. These must be prescribed, as they are tailored to meet the needs of individuals. Acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, moxa therapy, etc., all help to build immunity and strengthen the body, if you are open to those methods.
Whatever you choose to do, NOW is the time to start. My protocol begins September 1 and continues until summer. This helps me to not get sick and to offer my best energy to my patients.
On a final note, try to monitor your media exposure to include positive images. These tell your body that you are well and able to live your life to the fullest.
A vôtre santé!
We never know what the circumstances of our initiations will be.
When the Divine chooses to wrap her chrysalis of darkness around us,
asking us to endure and wait and question and doubt.
Feeling suspended in space and time,
and left behind
while the rhythm of the world carries on unaware
that we have paused for a purpose we cannot fathom.
In that stillness we wonder why and how did I get here??
It is through exploring the answers we give ourselves that we come to see that it just is and the only way
to the other side is to follow what our own heart instructs us to do,
away from the confinements of last week, last year, or a second ago
we are at least in charge of how we respond,
following the maze out to freedom,
guided by our true nature,
where we are strong and creative,
where we intuitively know exactly what we need.
The chrysalis of confinement is actually one of protection and the darkness doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us!
While we are inside, we are held on the outside by an abundance of loving people with smiling faces
who lend their strength and spirits to us,
seeing our beauty not in spite of,
but because of
our broken bits
and stretch marks.
We will all eventually emerge from our cocoon of transformation,
from pain to compassion, grace and a new sense of lightness of flight,
and we will become an even deeper instrument of blessing to the next in line.
Lori Cangilose, Education Director
The Odyssey of Osteoarthritis
Anatomical and Physiological Considerations
Based on the lectures of Lee Carroll, Bsc, BHSc (WHM)
Osteoarthritis (OA) statistically effects 40 to 50 million Americans and is the leading cause of disability in seniors. Interestingly, OA is not merely a disease of the joint but may also involve metabolic and circulatory factors. The exception to this is OA developing as a result of injury or genetic joint problems. Although OA has been commonly thought of as a “wear and tear” problem, modern clinical evidence points to a lack of exercise being a strong pre-disposing factor. However, runners, professional athletes, and enthusiasts of strenuous exercise routines are also at risk. This is particularly interesting as, for centuries, Chinese physicians have taught that moderate exercise is the key to a long and healthy life.
Metabolic Syndrome (i.e. diabetes) is a known risk factor for developing OA. Excess carbohydrates and fats in the diet lead to a cascade of events which deteriorate the sub-chondral bone and cause inflammation in the synovium. The ingestion of excess carbohydrates leads to AGE, or Advanced Glycation End products. Simply put, these are proteins, including red blood cells, which become encumbered by glucose molecules. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus spoke of the relationship of diet and the condition of the blood in the Essene Gospel of Peace (Dead Sea Scrolls): “…And his blood becomes thick and evil-smelling, like the water of swamps; it clots and blackens like the night of death.” He was describing AGE imbalance due to too much wine and bread in his day. Today, this relationship is measured in the hemoglobin A1C test. This test measures the viscosity or thickness of the blood. Carbs make the blood sticky and thick due to AGE. Notably, mosquitoes are more attracted to people with this type of blood.
In the joint, reduced blood supply to the sub-chondral bone results in bone marrow lesions and cysts, especially in the knees. Sub-chondral bone supplies 50% of the nutrients needed by the joint cartilage to remain healthy. With AGE, the supply of blood to the cartilage is severely depressed. When fragments of diseased cartilage find their way into the synovium of the joint, an inflammatory response results. Modern medicine approaches to the reduction of inflammation in the form of NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) medications do nothing to heal the joint and, over time, increase damage to the joint and potentially to the cardiovascular system.
Insulin also damages the linings of the arterial walls. Imaging confirms this in OA of the knee where the popleteal artery is damaged. Increased fats in the diet to a point of excess blocks veinules in the sub-chondral bone. A study done in Finland showed that men with OA in any finger joint were 40% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, studies have also shown that OA of the finger joint is associated with obesity.
So--the first approach to relief from OA begins in the kitchen! The basic “spleen diet” of Chinese Medicine is a balanced approach that can relieve OA. In this diet, most foods are cooked, which renders them easy to digest. Individual suggestions will be offered to patients based on their unique needs. If this diet is not desirable, a low-carb diet is the first, most important alternative. While not carbs, potatoes are strongly associated with OA of the hips, and all the solanine family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes) irritate joints. Garlic, on the other hand, helps to reduce inflammation. Ginger root as a cooking ingredient and as a tea increases peripheral circulation and supports digestion. GINGER CANDY IS NOT EFFECTIVE IN THIS WAY! Turmeric as a cooking herb is also important as an anti-inflammatory and pro-circulatory ingredient. One can simply take ½ teaspoon of turmeric in a small glass of water, or it can be added to food such as white fish or roasted squash. Berries and apples have also been shown to have a positive effect on OA. The main key is to avoid processed foods, heavy foods, and overeating.
Once diet has been addressed, we can move onto treatments specific to OA. Acupuncture, moxibustion, and the use of the TDP (heat/mineral) lamp improve circulation and reduce inflammation. Each treatment moves the body closer to balance. Over time, the paths of energy or Qi circulation become stronger and healthier. This not only reduces pain, but also helps the joints to heal as much as possible. Attention to the overall health of the body is essential to treating OA, as it is in any holistic method.
Herbal formulas can either be custom made or, in some cases, a ready-made patent medicine can be used to address general needs. MediHerb’s Boswellia Complex has an excellent track record for reducing pain and inflammation in joints. Standard Process also makes nutritional supplements (Ligaplex, etc.) which address this issue.
Above all, diet is essential to the ultimate outcome. It takes courage to change. It also takes discipline and determination. But the results are well worth it. Moreover, you will find that preparing food in a “non-American” way will save you money. That is because you will choose soups over smoothies and mixed legume/grain dishes over slabs of meat with potatoes. Processed, packaged, and fast foods, seemingly cheap but with no lasting value, will also depart from your diet. You will no longer need to rely on an array of expensive condiments but will instead enjoy cooking with herbs. You may even save more money by growing some of your own culinary herbs. Finally, you will come to enjoy both herbal and, if appropriate, Chinese teas instead of expensive, pre-made beverages.
We will help you on this journey without judgment. We are your mentors and your friends. Our staff are experienced gardeners and cooks and can offer concrete suggestions and tips to ensure you enjoy this exciting time of change.
A vôtre Santé!
Raven Sara, M.S.Ed., C.A.E., L.Ac.
"When the heart is serene, pain seems negligible." --The Inner Classic
In Chinese medicine, summer is the season of the heart and the small intestine. The heat of the summer vexes the heart. This is why some people will feel exhausted during very hot weather. It's something we should pay attention to, especially as the years and decades pass in our lives.
Keeping the heart cool with gentle herbal teas is one strategy for a happier summer. Warm spearmint tea, for example, clears heat and helps one to relax. Peppermint has a similar function, but for those with hypertension it is contraindicated. Lemon balm is a tea once enjoyed by the monks who illuminated the pages of the Bible. This simple garden tea not only cools the heart but also tonifies the mind. Herbs that cool the energy are known as Jing or longevity tonics.
Because the heart/mind is vexed by too much stimulation, calm, cool experiences are healing. To help us focus on the bounty of such experiences, nature provides an abundance of choices. But in our modern world, we often overlook the simple things of life. Watching the BBC production Life in the Undergrowth, presented by Sir David Attenborough, is an astounding joy in itself. The music and photography are magnificent. This program also helps us to appreciate the tiny lives in our gardens, parks, and wildernesses. In my garden, for example, there is a tiny bee which pollinates the flowers. It hovers over the flower as it inserts a long needle-like proboscis into the blossoms. These bees do not sting, so it is easy for newcomers to insect-watching to get close and marvel.
When triple-digit temperatures drive us indoors, some of the older BBC comedies provide healthy laughter. Allo Allo, Keeping Up Appearances, and Faulty Towers immediately come to mind. They feature real people in hilarious situations. It is refreshing to take a break from Hollywood's impossible affluent manikin model. More importantly, it is good for our hearts to laugh a little.
Food eaten during this season should be fresh, light, and colorful. Because the apex (bottom) of the heart is just above the fundus (top) of the stomach, heavy meals tend to encumber the heart. This is also why gentle walks after meals help to improve cardio-vascular health. In Grants Pass, we are fortunate to have a wonderful growers’ market where fresh, organic food is always available. Our clinic also offers specific food suggestions for individual health challenges.
Recently, our clinic purchased a Heart Sound Recorder. This is an electronic stethoscope connected to a computer program. Dr. Royal Lee invented the first version of this wonderful tool in 1937. Since that time, thousands upon thousands of heart sound recordings have been utilized by hundreds of doctors and certified nutritionists. The graphs produced by a heart sound recording session show which nutritional supplements would be beneficial to your heart. Fortunately, the heart responds to this therapy faster than any other tissue in the body.
Acupuncture helps to balance the energy of the body, including that of the heart. The Shao Yin channel system includes the Heart and the Kidney energies of the body. The fire of the heart is balanced by the water of the kidneys. After menopause, and/or in some constitutional types (Pitta or Wood), the Heart energy is more easily vexed by heat. In a similar scenario, post-menopausal women and Kidney or Vata-type constitutions are often depleted of the cool energy of the kidney. Both Acupuncture and Chinese herbal strategies help to bring these energies back into balance.
The Heart Shao Yin is also the complement of the Small Intestine Tai Yang channel system. The Kidney Shao Yin is the complement of the Bladder Tai Yang channel system. In clinical practice, some women develop “bladder infections” despite the fact that there is no detectable bacteria. How is this possible? If a women is in an abusive relationship or stress-filled job, the heat of that shen or spirit disharmony manifests in the channels. It may begin in the heart channel. The woman may or may not experience palpitations, weakness, faintness, and/or heat intolerance. That heat then transfers to the small-intestine channel and its Tai Yang partner, the bladder. The heat will prompt frequent, sometimes painful urination. If this is not treated, bacteria may take up residence in the warm environment. In some individuals, the bacteria takes up residence simply because the body is too warm, the immune system is weak (the small intestine is part of the immune system), or toilet hygiene is insufficient. In any case, Chinese herbs can safely treat this condition and return the body to balance. During such an event, tea from the Chinese or Indian tea plant should be avoided because it is a diuretic and will stress the bladder. Unsweetened, organic cranberry juice, by contrast, acidifies and astringes the bladder tissue, providing healing. (Concentrated cranberry extracts in pill form are not always effective and are costly.)
Our summer weather is influenced by many factors. We are currently on the downslope of the bell-shaped curve which defines sunspot cycles. Like everything in creation, the stars “breathe” with the energy within them. The low sun spot activity in 2017 was probably responsible for our cool and cloudy winter and spring. The high sunspot activity of a few years ago probably contributed to the drought, horrific forest fires, and choking smoke. But global warming is also a very real and potent factor in our climate change. The arctic ice cap is thinning and melting. Ocean levels are rising. The carbon output our modern world contributes to this situation is the main cause of this change.
It is difficult to change some things. We are only individuals. But we can decide, for example, not to waste the resources of the earth in the pursuit of entertainment when our sustainment is an issue. We must also think of the number of humans now populating this planet and the pollution each of us generates. This is especially true in our country and Europe. Some countries, like Germany, Bolivia, and Venezuela, are very serious in their consideration of this problem. In fact the entire European Union is looking into climate change on a global scale.
Whatever contribution we make for a better planet is an investment in our future of our descendants. It will be good for our hearts to know that choosing a simpler life will benefit all life on our beautiful planet
May a calm and beautiful summer unfold for you.
“At these times, the things that troubled her seemed far away and unimportant: all that mattered was the hum of the bees and the chirp of birdsong, the way the sun gleamed on the edge of a wildflower, the distant bleat and clink of grazing goats." --Alison Croggon