Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Purity of Motivation

Much of society would have you believe that "the end justifies the means" and that putting on an appearance is sufficient. As you grow, however, it becomes increasingly apparent that your motivation behind any undertaking is the most important thing; more important, even, than accomplishing your initial goal. It determines if you achieve peace and happiness as a result of any action you undertake. If you act out of negative motivations, when you achieve your goal it will leave only an emptiness.                                         
You can call yourself a spiritual person, but if your motivation is your own enlightenment and not the enlightenment of all, then you will not achieve your goal. If your motivation is to achieve power and money at the expense of others, you are operating from a belief that there is not enough in the world and you must take from others. You have created your own prison and you will never have enough to be satisfied though to others you may be a rich person. In either of the above cases your actions could have been very similar, but if carried out from a desire to be of service with your talent, the end result would also bring great fulfillment.

Before you take any action, ask yourself why. What is your motivation? If there is a mixed motive or a negative motive, don't do it. Keep your motive pure and allow it to drive your action.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Words on Peace

Peace Pilgrim was a woman who walked accross the country from 1953 to 1981 spreading the message of peace. The following are some of her quotes:

When asked on her willingness to forgive others, Peace Pilgrim replied, "I do not even need to forgive people, for I harbor no animosity. If they do evil things I feel compassion for them because I know they have hurt themselves. I hope they will be sorry, because I want then to be healed."

When asked if love could prevail in this world, Peace Pilgrim answered, "Yes, good will win in this world. The darkness that we see in the world today is due to the disintegration of things which are not good. Only the things which are good can endure. Yes, love will win in this world. Those who are filled with hatred are desperately unhappy and desperately -even though unconsciously- seeking a better way. Only those who are filled with love are serene and at peace."

When asked about hatred and racism she replied, "You can overcome hatred with love. Hate injures the hater, not the hated. Those who practice racism are hurt. Those that are discriminated against have a choice:  They can be hurt by a wrong reaction of bitterness or anger, or they can rise above the situation and be spiritually strengthened."

On love she said, "Never underestimate the power of God's love-it transforms! It reaches the spark of good in the other person and the person is disarmed."

Peace Pilgrim; Her Life and Work in Her Own Words is her autobiography.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

5 Element Meditation: Earth Element

According to the ancient Daoists, we are all made up of 5 elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Harmony in life is achieved when we balance these elements.

We focus on increasing our earth element when we want to feel more grounded and centered. The earth element meditation is particularly helpful for those who feel a lack of stability in their lives, feel ungrounded, have trouble making and maintaining supportive relationships with others, want to build self-esteem and feel more secure, and/or want to be more nurturing. Due to the fact that the earth element relates to our spleen and stomach organs, this meditation will also help to strengthen these organs.

Earth Meditation:
The quickest way to strengthen your earth element is to literally get down in the dirt. Garden, play in the mud, or simply put your feet in the soil. Sit comfortably with bare feet on the ground, or even better, your feet on grass or open soil. Close your eyes and keep the image of the earth in your mind or gently focus your gaze on the earth. As you inhale, imagine breathing in light from the earth. As you exhale, imagine exhaling light into the earth.

Feel grounded and steady. Feel nurtured and supported. As you feel these feelings grow inside you, begin to breathe out nurturing and supportive energy. Imagine a warm maternal energy enveloping you, making you feel warm and safe. Open to the positive qualities of the Earth element; practicality, endurance, reliability, patience, the ability to make things grow and flourish, and unfaltering faith.

Finally, simply sit receptive to what the earth has to teach you. Do not judge. Simply allow whatever thoughts and feelings that come up to do so.

You may meditate for as long as you like, but typically between 20min to an hour is ideal.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

5 Element Meditation: Fire Element

According to the ancient Daoists, we are made up of the 5 elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Harmony in life is achieved when we balance these elements.

We focus on increasing our fire element when we want to increase our creativity, joy, energy, inspiration, and love. The fire element meditation is particularly helpful for those who feel like they have lost their joy in life, feel their emotions are dulled, need to be more creative and spontaneous, need more humor, and/or want to be more loving and connected. Due to the fact that the fire element relates to our heart and small intestine organs, this meditation will also help to strengthen these organs.

Fire Meditation:

Sit comfortably in front of a candle flame, or even better, a wood fire. Close your eyes and keep the image of the flame in your mind or gently focus your gaze on the flame. As you inhale, imagine breathing in light from the flame. As you exhale, imagine exhaling light into the flame.

Feel sparks of creativity and joy emanating from your body. Feel a deep sense of love filling your heart and shining outward to connect with everyone and everything around. Feel the divine beauty. Feel the sense of opening up, of freely connecting with yourself, others, and spirit. Open to the positive qualities of the Fire element: love, empathy, beauty, humor, spontaneity, fun, and inspiration.

Finally, simply sit receptive to what the flame has to teach you. Do not judge. Simply allow whatever thoughts and feelings that come up to do so.

You may meditate as long as you like, but typically between 20 min to an hour is ideal.

Monday, December 21, 2009

5 Element Meditation: Wood Element

According to the ancient Daoists, we are all made of 5 elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Harmony in life is achieved when we balance these elements.

We focus on increasing our wood element when we want to expand, grow, accomplish goals, and strengthen our personal boundaries. The wood element meditation is particularly helpful for those who feel like they are lacking initiative and drive, are having trouble sticking to their goals and following through, need to be more assertive and stand up for themselves, and/or want to be more generous. Due to the fact that the wood element relates to our liver and gallbladder organs, this meditation will also help to detoxify these organs.

Any tree, large or small, will do, but certain types of trees can be more effective for certain problems. For example, pine trees are particularly healing for our emotions. The redwoods have a calming energy and can be used  when someone really needs to build a sense of self and personal boundaries, to clear emotional pain when boundaries have been crossed in the past, and want to really expand into their full potential.

Wood Meditation:
Simply sit comfortably by a tree. (Always ask permission first to work with the tree.) Close your eyes and keep the image of the tree in your mind or gently focus your gaze on the tree. As you inhale, imagine breathing in light from the tree. As you exhale, imagine exhaling light into the tree.

Feel your roots going deep into the earth. Feel yourself expanding indefinitely up into the sky. Feel the cool water circulating in your body; calming and freeing you. Feel the sense of expansion, of being so full that you give freely without expecting anything in return. Open to the positive qualities of the wood element; generosity, expansion, and boundless freedom.

Finally, simply sit receptive to what the tree has to teach you. Do not judge. Simply allow whatever thoughts and feelings that come up to do so. End with a feeling of gratitude: for the tree, for the experience, for what you learned, etc.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just Breathe

Mastering the Square Breath

The breath can be used to increase our strength, to relax into a stretch, to wake us up, or to calm and center us for meditation. The great Sufi master, Hidyat Inayat Khan said, "If there could be any definition of concentration, it would only be the following:  synchronized interaction between thought and breath."

To master your breath is to master your mind.

The following is a simple breathing technique called the square breath as described by Khan but used in many disciplines. According to Khan, the square breath is used when "one wishes to be in an absolutely balaced condition...and everything surrounding one will become harmonious and peaceful."

It is called a square breath because equal time is spent on the inhale, exhale, and holds between breathes. For example, inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, and hold for a count of 4. You can use any count you feel comfortable with.

To focus your intention further you can inhale from one nostril and exhale through the other. Inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left is helpful if you are looking for inspiration or an answer to a problem. Inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right is appropriate when you want to focus your mind on taking action or on manifesting something.

The discipline of the repetition and the regularity of the breath is what will calm your mind and strengthen your willpower.

When you breathe, focus on what you want. You can imagine an obstacle and then surrender it to the power of your breath.

If things are chaotic and you can't focus, simply imagine inhaling light and exhaling light. Feel yourself taking the power back from the external happenings and placing it in the power of your breath.

For more on Khan's breathing techniques read "Sufi Teachings; Lectures from Lake O'Hara"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

50% Off Peel Week Event: October 26-31, 2009

We Can Help

We can help
In appreciation of our patients we are offering 50% Off all of our peels during the week of 10/26-10/31. To schedule please call 858.312.5600 or email us at contact@cinnabaracupuncture.com.
Listed below are our free gifts, peel prices and descriptions.

Free Cleanser
Purchase a peel for 50% off and receive a free full size cleanser. Choose between Purity Clean, a lactic-acid exfoliating cleanser and Benefit Clean, a gentle anti-oxidant cleanser. Both are SLS and paraben free.
Regular Price: $32

50% Off Special Products50% Off Special Produc

50% Off Special Products

eye believe
Eye Believe
Intensive eye serum containing Vit A (retinol), Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Spin Trap to prevent and repair wrinkles, puffiness, and thinning skin.
Regular Price:
Special: $45.50
with purchase of corrector or sunscreen
Anti-aging, anti-oxidant serum containing peptides, fullersomes, and numerous anti-oxidants. Used daily to prevent sun and environmental damage.
Regular Price: $78
Special Price: $39
with purchase of corrector or sunscreen
Peels are listed from mildest to most intense: 
pomegranate peel
Pomegranate Peel
Our mildest peel. Used as a boost in conjunction with other peels to increase moisture in the skin.
Regular Price: $70
Special Boost: $20

blueberry smoothie
Blueberry Smoothie
A superficial peel that leaves the skin with a healthy glow. A peel/scrub containing lactic acid, blue cornmeal, and blueberry extract. Only peel available during pregnancy.
Regular Price: $70
Special Price: $35
benefit peel
Benefit Peel
Medium strength peel for hypersensitive, aging and breakout-prone skin. Only peel indicated for rosacea. Gently stimulates collagen production. Contains Vit. C, Vit. A, and anti-oxidants.
Regular Price: $100
Special Price: $50
Purity Peel
Purity Peel
Medium depth peel ideal for acneic, congested, and/or hyperpigmented skin. Contains salicylic acid, Vit. A (retinoic acid), and AHA's.
Regular Price: $125
Special Price: $62.50
blueberry jessner
Blueberry Jessner
The perfect peel for excessively oily, acneic skin with hyperpigmentation. Often used as a boost for other peels.
Requires 10 day prep prior (contact our clinic).
Regular Price: $100
Special Boost:
timeless peel
Timeless Peel
Provides the most dramatic results for almost any skin condition. Excellent for wrinkles, thinning or sagging skin, uneven skin tone, and hyperpigmentation. Strongly stimulates collagen and elastin production. Contains 30% Vit A (retinoic acid) and lactic acid.
Peeling common for 2-4 days. Requires 10 day prep prior (contact our clinic).
Regular Price: $225
Special Price: $112.50
deep sea
Deep Sea Peel
Our deepest peel, reserved for deep wrinkles and scarring. Contains Vit A (retinoic acid) and sea herbs. Skin will be red for 24 hours and peeling common for 2-4 days. Requires 10 day prep prior (contact our clinic)
Regular Price: $250
Special Price: $125

Peels - listed from mildest to most intensive
note: A thorough skin analysis is included with each appointment. It isn't necessary to choose a peel ahead of time.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tips to Strengthen Immunity

Patients always ask what they can do to strengthen their immunity at this time of year. The following are some tips everyone can use:

  1. Always take care of colds and infections first. Take Vitamins A and C and Zinc at the first sign of a cold. Take herbs such as Chinese formula Gan Mao Ling. Also get plenty of water. If the cold progresses consult a health practitioner.
  2. Take care of High Blood Sugar. Stop eating sweets and sweet foods. Do a modified fast for several days avoiding simple carbs (white bread, pasta, juice, etc.) and fruits (except papaya and berries). Take herbs that balance blood sugar.
  3. Cleanse and Detox. This is the fastest way to clear High Blood Sugar and infections. Consult your health care practitioner for the best cleansing program for your constitution and lifestyle.

  4. Make sure there is adequate iron in the body. This builds healthy red blood cells and is key for immunity. Eat uncooked leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.). Can be taken in salad or green drinks. Red meat and organic liver are very high in iron. For more serious anemia herbs and acupuncture may be necessary. Si Wu Tang is a good basic formula to build healthy red blood cells.
  5. Have ample chlorophyll in the diet. Eat plenty of green vegetables . Supplements are also available like concentrated greens powders. Find out food sensitivities and food allergies and avoid these foods.

Taken from Valerie Gersch.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Demystifying Sunscreen

By May 20009 the FDA will be implementing new standards for sunscreen labeling and testing which will include UVA as well as UVB protection ratings. It will likely be patterned after the Australian system, considered the most advanced in the world.

There are 3 types of UV rays. UVA rays are the longest rays penetrating into the dermis. Often termed the "aging" rays, they are primarily responsible for premature aging and wrinkling. UVA rays do not burn, are not filtered by glass, do not change with altitude or atmosphere, are present all day and all year. They are not seasonal.

UVB rays are medium in length and do not penetrate the epidermis. These are the "burning" rays. UVB are strongest in the middle of the day, and are affected by season, altitude, and atmosphere. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer.

UVC rays are the shortest rays and are largely filtered by the ozone layer.

The Australian sunscreen rating system is the only one in the world that currently requires rating for UVA protection, based on a 4 star system. In the U.S., sunscreens containing UVA protection are labeled as "broadspectrum" sun protection, though there is no rating for the level of protection. The FDA is likely to adopt the 4 star rating system as well as requiring the label "No UVA Protection" on sunscreens that do not offer UVA protection.

The present U.S. SPF rating only applies to UVB rays and measures how much exposure to rays are needed to burn the skin. Tests are performed using 2 mg of sunscreen on 1 sq cm of skin. This translates into .72 fl ozs. for a 5' person, 90 lbs, with a 30" waist and 1.5 fl ozs. for a 6'5" person, 225 lbs, with a 36" waist. The length of protection depends greatly on activity and reapplication. Studies indicate that people use 10%-30% of the recommended amount. SPF stands for "Sun Protection Factor" which will be changed to "Sunburn Protection Factor."

The following chart helps to understand how many rays are blocked:

There are both chemical and physical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens absorb rays while physical sunscreens block them. There are many chemical sunscreens used world-wide, some of which have been deemed toxic and/or irritating to the skin. It is important to research your sunscreen ingredients for this reason.

The 2 physical sunblocks are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. The benefit of these is that they aren't absorbed by your body but simply sit on the surface of your skin as a shield. They tend to be better for acne-prone and sensitive skin. The down side is that they tend to leave a white sheen and aren't as long-lasting as some of the more advanced chemical sunscreens. Our Cosmedix sunscreens only contain one or both of these physical sunblocks because they are guaranteed not to react chemically with peels or other skin products. Both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide offer UVB and UVA protection.

from Christine Oddo's presentation 3/26/09

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Don't Waste a Good Crisis

The following is paraphrased from a recent sermon by Rev. Michael Beckwith of the Agape Church in LA. I felt it was so appropriate for so many of us right now that I have attempted to reproduce it here:

Many of us are experiencing a state of crisis right now, on a personal, national, and/or global level. It is the common human response to get caught up in the panic. We long for how things used to be and keep looking back to what things were. Or we pray for more money, a bigger house, etc. to solve all of our problems. We blame ourselves for not being good enough, thinking if only we had done this or that it all would have been different. We do all of this instead of being thankful and excited and anticipate something beyond what we can presently visualize, something beyond what we have ever heard, seen, or felt is about to happen. In this we miss what a crisis really is, an opportunity.

If one could listen to a little chick still inside the egg it would be praying “Please God give me a bigger egg.” Or it would be bemoaning “Why can’t things be like they used to be when I could fit in the egg.” But life has much more in store for that chick. There is a universe beyond anything that that chick has ever heard, felt, or seen waiting for it. And as its neck gets stronger and its body bigger the crisis becomes a magnificent birth.

When there is a crisis it gives us a tremendous amount of focus and motivation to change that which is not working. When things are going well we tend to let things go instead of fixing them. We naturally resist change, so the motivating factor sometimes has to increase before we are moved to take action or to change our thinking.

Rather than panicking, stay open to what needs to be changed. Expect good things to come your way beyond what seems likely or possible. In that anticipation answers always come.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Basics of Beauty

As featured on the Oprah show and Dr. Mehmet Oz’s Beauty Book, it can be very difficult to navigate through the numerous beauty products, all purporting claims of miraculous results. So what really works? Research has found there are several ingredients that everyone should be using in their skincare regimen as part of preventative skincare. The following is a breakdown:

•Vitamin A (retinol, retinoic acid) – This is the single most important ingredient to use in daily skincare. It helps to stimulate collagen and elastin production and general skin recovery. In turns back the clock on aging by thickening the skin, increasing skin tone, and minimizing wrinkles. It also necessary in the treatment of hyperpigmentation, acne and scarring. Be aware that Vit. A can cause irritation and many popular forms such as Retin A can cause redness, flaking, and itching. Finding the correct formulation is crucial.

•Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide, Niacin) – A crucial ingredient whenever there are signs of inflammation as in the treatment of acne or rosacea.

•Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) – A vital anti-oxidant, Vit. C protects the skin from sun damage and daily stress and should be used every morning. It is particularly useful in the treatment of hyperpigmentation as it has a brightening effect on the skin. A word of caution: Vit. C is notoriously unstable. In order to keep it active, many skincare companies sell Vit. C alone in the form of acorbic acid powder that can be mixed in with serums or creams immediately before applying. Keeping Vit. C stable within a product requires an expensive process, leading to the higher cost of these products.

•Vitamin E (tocopherol) – A powerful anti-oxidant that protects against the sun and speeds healing of the skin and helps prevent scarring. It also helps Vit. A work more effectively.

•Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) – These work as a gentle exfoliator to stimulate cell turnover and alleviate dull, tired-looking skin.
It is not enough to find products with these ingredients listed on a label. The quality of the ingredients, the presence of fillers and other additives that can negate the effectiveness of the ingredients, the amount actually present, and the form present are all factors to consider. Many of these ingredients are difficult to stabilize and maintain in a form that will be active when applied to the skin. For example adding green tea (a soothing ingredient) to a product laden with parabens or sodium laurel sulfate (known irritants) will produce an end product with none of the benefits of the green tea.

What is not in the product is just as important as what is in the product. There is a great deal of controversy over whether or not parabens cause cancer and just how dangerous sodium laurel sulfates are. What no one disputes is that they are both known irritants that will aggravate existing conditions and cause new ones.

Price is often a major determining factor in choosing skincare. Products that are cheap often do not have the research for product development, use cheap ingredients that are often irritating and at best inactive. It is not really economical to buy products at a great deal if they are doing anything for your skin. Quality usually has a higher cost, the same as it does for food and other commodities. However, many department store brands spend so much on marketing that the increased cost does not reflect quality of ingredients as much as it does marketing costs.

Having a licensed esthetician perform a thorough skin analysis to properly assess your needs and suggest the appropriate products is invaluable. An esthetician must be a therpist, who's intent is to correct skin conditions, not a salesperson. For more information please call 858.312.5600 or email us at contact@cinnabaracupuncture.com to schedule a consultation.