Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fundraiser for Agnes Toshitsune

On Saturday, November 13, 2010 we will donate 50% of the proceeds from services to a fund to finance alternative treatment for our dear friend Agnes who was instrumental in Cinnabar's skincare. Agnes was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
This is an opportunity to help someone who has always opened her heart and hands those who have needed her. Now it is our turn to help her, but we cannot do it alone. We need your help and the help of many communities, so please, whatever you can spare, please help us to help our friend, Agnes Toshitsune.
Agnes always thinks of those less fortunate than herself. Until she was diagnosed with cancer, Agnes gave free haircuts to the disabled; volunteered at the Rock and always urged those around her to give their recycling, extra goods, and clothing to help the poor-even from her hospital bed!
Agnes' faith and her cultural heritage have kept her strongly motivated all her life. Like you and I, Agnes has  had her share of difficult times, but has always been resourceful and healthy enough to take care of herself, her adult disabled daughter, and her son. Agnes' abilities, her spa and salon knowledge have always been in high demand, but those of you who have faced a cancer diagnosis know that Agnes must now depend on others. And so we ask that you help us to help her in pursuing her treatment and recovery.

Agnes in her own words:

My name is Agnes Toshitsune, and I am from Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. I am a member of the Lakota Tribe.  As a Native American, I have always believed in the healing abilities of herbs and supplements. When I was a little girl, I would watch my grandmother, Agnes Yellowrobe, use her garden to heal those around her. No one on the reservation had access or could afford traditional western medicine. Even my mother, a nurse, knew the value of non-traditional medicine and the wisdom of using natural substances from the earth, just as her mother had, to heal.
Born in the forties, I know how difficult life was for the native peoples. I have worked all my life. As a child I cleaned houses, babysat, and even helped a horticulturalist in his greenhouse. Throughout life, I have worked very hard, without regret.
In 1995, I had to leave the business I shared and had worked so hard to establish, when my husband deserted my family and me. Due to circumstances, I had to walk away from my home, my business, and the life I had worked so hard to create. Now, I became one of the many working poor. Living from paycheck to paycheck, and never knowing from one month to the next whether I would be able to afford my rent or the necessities of basic life.
Like millions of Americans, I could not afford health insurance. Now, I find myself dependent on a system of healthcare that does not include nor offer additional alternative treatments to patients like myself. However, we all know that statistically, alternative treatments, when used in conjunction with "current medical modalities" have better patient outcomes. We have all seen the commercials; read the books; or heard the stories of people who, just like me and you, have managed to beat cancer through the use of many and varied therapies that were once viewed with derision. Now, we are advised to question physicians, just like my mother, the nurse, told me to do, through the stories she would bring home from working in the hospital.  And, we know that miracles happen.
If you can find it in your heart to help, you will always be in my prayers. If you would like to speak to me, please email me at: elistat1hrc.sdcoxmail.com.
I thank God for all of the wonderful Tribes here in San Diego; they have helped me tremendously. I thank God for all of the caring and concerned people praying for me. I thank God, for anyone who can assist me.
God Bless You,
Agnes Toshitsune

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sugaring vs. Waxing

View:   Video on Sugaring Video of Sugar Facial
Benefits of Sugaring:
1. It's better for your skin.
Wax adheres to whatever it comes in contact with: hair, live skin, your clothes, the sheets, etc. Waxing will remove live skin cells along with dead skin cells and unwanted hair, causing unnecessary pain and irritation. The repetitive trauma to the dermis can lead to scarring of the skin. In patients with a tendency towards hyperpigmentation this can create a permanent darkening of the upper lip, for example. You can visibly see the damage from waxing to the skin under a wood's lamp. The reason why waxing became so popular is that it requires far less skill. You can be very unskilled and still remove hair because the wax will rip off (or at least break) the hair.
Sugar paste adheres only to dead skin cells and does not disturb live skin cells. This means that after sugaring the skin is glowing and beautifully exfoliated. It is actually beneficial to the skin and will not cause hyperpigmentation or skin damage. Sugaring is still painful because you are pulling the hairs by their roots, but significantly less painful than waxing, because you are not ripping the skin off as well.
2.It's Natural
Sugaring is an ancient method of hair removal that uses a paste made from caramelized sugar, honey, and lime juice. It is so clean it is edible. These ingredients are also good for your skin. Honey is an excellent humectant (helps keep moisture in the skin) and lime juice astringes the pores.
Waxing is made of resins and often toxic chemicals as well. These ingredients are often irritating, if not toxic, to the skin.
3.No Risk of Burning
Sugar paste needs only to be slightly warm to use unlike hot wax which can burn sensitive skin.
4. No Risk of Contamination
This may not seem like such a big concern, but for anyone who has contacted a staph infection from waxing, they know how potentially dangerous not maintaining the proper level of sanitation can be. In order to avoid cross contamination, an esthetician is required to use a new wax stick each time wax is removed from the wax pot. This is in fact the law, however, in practice it is common for estheticians to "double dip."
With sugar paste, the same ball of sugar is reapplied until it becomes saturated with hair. The sugar and honey are naturally antibacterial. The esthetician also uses gloves during the procedure and everything, sugar stick, gloves, and sugar, are discarded immediately after use. There is no risk of cross contamination. This is very important when you consider that hair removal is often done exactly where we are most prone to contacting disease.
(For this reason it is always important to only patronize clean facilities when receiving aesthetic services.)
4. Hairs Removed at the Bulb
Proper sugaring methods remove hair in the natural direction of hair growth. Sugar paste also seeps into the hair follicle, lubricating the hair root. This results in the entire hair being removed including the bulb, consistently. Over time this weakens the hairs gradually leading to finer and less hair growth. It is also minimizes the inherent discomfort.
With waxing hair is removed against the natural direction of hair growth leading to greater discomfort and breakage of hairs above the root.
Sugaring will help:
• eliminate ingrown hairs
• prevent new ingrown hairs
• extract all hair colors and textures
• successfully treat all skin types and colors
• improve the skin tone and texture
Sugaring will not:
• burn the skin
• damage the dermal cells
• “pit” the delicate facial skin cells
• scar the follicle mouth or surrounding area
• promote cross contamination
Our Sugar Paste
We use Alexandria Professional Sugar at our clinic. This ensures that the sugar paste is certified sterile and safe. All of our estheticians are Alexandria certified.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cosmedix Back To School Skincare Kit

Available while supplies last for 27% off. Kit is ideal basic skincare for acneic or oily skin. Includes:

Purity Clean
A sodium laurel sulfate (SLS)-free exfoliating cleanser with lactic acid and a refreshing peppermint scent. Use a pea-size amount morning and night. Can be used as a mask and left for 10 min for additional exfoliation. Purity Clean is recommended to prepare for peels to increase their results. It is ideal for oily or acneic skin and for dull, rough skin that requires exfoliation.

Clarity Serum
This serum is specific for oily, acneic skin. We have also found it effective to control milia when used daily in the local area. Contains 1% Vitamin A (retinol), niacinamide (reduces inflammation), salicylic acid (decongests pores), and tea tree oil. Apply once or twice a day after cleansing. Clarity serum is benzoyl peroxicide-free. Benzoyl peroxide can  provide temporary relief but longterm is a harsh skincare ingredient that leaves the skin inflamed and rough.

A spray-on physical sunblock with 30 spf. Contain Titanium Dioxide as the active ingredient. Titanium dioxide is soothing to the skin (acne is an inflammatory reaction). Physical sunblocks such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sit on the surface of the skin and reflect the sun's rays. Chemical sunblocks actually react with and penetrate the skin which can lead to clogged pores, skin irritation, and can react chemically with other skin care products used on the skin. Reflect is light, does not dry out or add moisture to the skin, making it ideal for normal to oily skin or under makeup.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mung Beans: Chinese Food Therapy

Chinese Food Therapy is an essential part of TCM. Appropriate nutrition is crucial to sustained good health just as sleep and movement and loving relationships. Chinese Food Therapy is a complex system that evolved alongside herbal therapy, acupuncture, qigong, and massage. It prescribes foods based on weather, personal constitution, and lifestyle.

Mung Beans are an ideal food during hot, summer weather to maintain health. According to Chinese Food Therapy they are cooling, sweet, and detoxifying. They alleviate Damp Heat in the body and cleanse the Liver and Gallbladder systems. Sprouted mung beans have a colder nature, making them stronger in action to cleanse and cool the body and particularly beneficial in the treatment of alcoholism. If you have weak digestion or feel cold, eat mung beans sparingly.

A basic recipe is to cook mung beans with Job’s Tears (barley) and ginger. Soak mung beans and Job’s Tears overnight. Strain. Put in a heavy pot and cover with water. Slice ginger to taste and place in pot. Add salt and a few bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Skim any bubbles from the surface. Turn down heat and allow to simmer for 60 min or until soft.

An excellent source on Chinese Food Therapy is “Healing With Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Treating Sciatica with Acupuncture & Massage

What we call sciatica occurs when either the nerves of the low back or the sciatic nerve is compressed. This causes sharp, radiating pain, tingling, or numbness down the low back, buttocks, leg, and/or heel. At times the pain will be only in one location, such as the heel. At others the whole nerve pathway can be felt. Generally sciatica is felt on one side only, however, clinically it often jumps from side to side.

In Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) terms this can be due to Qi & Blood Stagnation, Wind Cold Damp Bi, Hot Bi, or Kidney Deficiency. When Cold or Damp is present, needle moxa can be very effective to relieve pain and unblock the channels. In these cases having the patient use stick moxa along the entire channel on a daily basis until the pain resolves is also helpful. In cases of Qi & Blood stagnation, needling with eletro-stimulation is very effective at clearing the stagnant qi in the channels.

At Cinnabar Acupuncture Clinic, acupuncture is followed by cupping and massage. Massage can include alternating hot and cold stones, simply hot stones, deep tissue, myofascial release, and/or gentle stretching based on the presentation.

Results can be felt immediately after the treatment, but full results can take up to a day. Depending on the severity and underlying condition (whether it is simply a tight muscle or serious joint deterioration) symptom relief may take anywhere from one treatment to a series of regular visits.

We are featuring a special this month at Cinnabar Acupuncture Clinic called the Sciatica Relief Package that includes the above treatment.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What is Reiki?

Reiki is an ancient system of hands on healing. What makes Reiki unique is that it allows the practitioner to channel ki/qi (energy) to heal the recipient without taxing their own energy. Rather, the person giving the treatment also receives healing energy.

Reiki was developed by Dr. Mikao Usui 1922. The healing system was brought to the U.S. in 1937 by Hawayo Takata. Reiki is now taught in three levels, each including an energetic initiation and hands on healing. Level I is primarily for physical healing, self-healing, and hands on healing on a recipient who is physically present. It is recommended for anyone who is suffering from illness to empower them to work on their own health. Level II initiates the practitioner to address emotional level healing and long-distance healing. Master Level III is primarily for those who desire to teach, but is also extremely valuable for anyone who is in any type of healing or health care profession. It strongly increases the practitioner's healing ability and allows for deep spiritual level healing. You will find that learning Reiki will not only increase your own physical well being, it will also strongly revitalize your creativity and is highly beneficial for artists of every discipline.

Dale Bach is a Usui and Karuna Reiki Master. She experienced her own healing with Reiki and credits it with saving her life. This prompted Dale to learn Reiki and teach it to others. She has been practicing Reiki for over 20 years. Dale has generously agreed to offer her intensive Reiki I, II, and Master III over 2 weekends in a workshop that promises to be both fun and life-changing. Some are born with natural healing ability. This course allows everyone to have the ability to heal. Please click here for more info or to register.

Discovering the True Fountain of Youth

The disease of old age, the Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor will tell you, is Qi deficiency and Blood stagnation. While Qi deficiency is best treated with acupuncture, herbs, and nutrition, Blood stagnation requires something else, movement. What we call old age is mostly the body adapting to laziness and lack of movement. Weight training and aerobics are necessary components, but to allay the aging process and to retain youthfulness, the movement required is of a special kind: a combination of joint mobility and muscle flexibility.

Qigong from China, and yoga from India have long understood this, and recent science in Russia and the U.S. have supported this. Flexible muscles and mobile joints allow proper blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. Toxins are easily and regularly expelled from the body, wounds and traumas heal, and we feel a sense of well-being and ease. That tired look and stiff gait we associate with age is completely avoidable. But we must make an effort to move.

These are two distinct goals, though one can creatively combine them. Joint mobility requires moving all joints through the entire range of motion on a daily basis. Some, such as Russian surgeon Dr. Janda, recommends moving each joint the full range of motion the same number of times as your age. Others, such as Z Health practitioners require a far modest number. Joint mobility drills are easily added before your regular workout or first thing in the morning to wake everything up.

Most people are familiar with stretching, even though most avoid it. It is best done after you are warmed u or at the end of a workout.

We often recommend Ginastica Natural, or "natural gymnastics," to our patients. It is a full system of strength, mobility, flexibility, balance, and stamina, based entirely on natural movement patterns. Many find Ginastica Natural resembles a fluid yoga mixed with gymnastics. The originator of Ginastica Natural, Prof. Alvaro Romano, is offering a seminar in Los Angles on Sat, Aug 14, 2010 from 10am-4pm. Cost is $175.

You must practice moving your body in every which way it was meant to move or YOU WILL LOSE IT.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Reiki: Chinese Character Analysis

The above are the characters for Reiki.

The modern Japanese writing system, Kanji  (漢字) uses Chinese characters; kanji literally meaning "Han characters" or "Chinese characters", along with hiragana (the characters that look like squiggle lines) and katakana (which look similar to Chinese characters but not quite). In light of the upcoming intensive workshop, I thought it would be interesting to break down the meaning of the Chinese characters in Reiki.

The first character 霊 (靈)is líng, which is an interesting character. It contains the radical for rain 雨 (  or 霝 líng) on top and the shaman 巫 () radical on the bottom. Together the character can mean spirit, spiritual world, intelligent, Divine, mysterious, or effective.

The second character 气 (氣) is qi. Qi is often translated as "life force or vital energy" or simply "energy." 気 is the Japanese version.

Together it would mean Divine energy or effective energy.

Reiki is the Japanese pronunciation of these characters.

If you are interested in attending a Reiki I,II, & Master intensive with renowned teacher Dale Bach please click here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Construct of the Chinese Herbal Formula

Chinese herbology developed alongside but independently from acupuncture in many way. Acupuncture likely emerged out of early Shamanic traditions and qigong and meditation practices. The origins and development are not documented. By the time the earliest medical texts were written some 2,500 years (or more) ago the meridian systems and basics of acupuncture had already evolved.

Chinese herbology, however, shows a path of clear development. Medical texts follow a logical path of trial and error on thousands and thousands of subjects, of all ages, classes, ethnic groups, climates, etc. Ship voyages and diplomacy with other nations were fueled not so much by imperialism as a desire for knowledge, herbal knowledge in particular.

The result is a system of herbology that is far more complex than its Western cousin. It is often difficult for those adept at Western herbology to understand Chinese Herbal formulas. For one thing, Chinese herbs are rarely taken alone. With the exception of such herbs as Ren Shen (ginseng) or Gou Qi Zi (gou gi berries), most Chinese are taken in formulas containing anywhere from 3-15 herbs. The formulas follow a very specific reasoning based on a Confucian ideal of harmony. The ideal Chinese herbal formula has no side effects.

First the core disease pattern(s) is chosen for the patient. The underlying constitution, most pronounced symptoms, and other factors are taken into consideration. One or two king herbs are chosen to address the pattern of greatest concern. Herbs that directly support its action are added. Then herbs to to address specific symptoms, additional patterns, neutralize potential side effects, etc. are added.

There are more than 400 herbs in the Chinese pharmacopoeia, originating from all over the world. They are organized in categories of main function, thermal property (hot, cold, neutral, warm), and the channels they affect.

Herbs are taken in various forms: raw herb decoctions, tinctures, honey pills, tablets, and tea pills. Externally they are used as soaks and plasters.

Chinese herbology is part of the training of Licensed Acupuncturists in the state of California. It takes 3600 hours of schooling to be licensed, and a lifetime to master.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Constipation-Home Remedies

Constipation in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be caused by a variety of patterns. Most common are Yin and Blood (Fluid) Deficiency (common in older patients, after loss of blood, childbirth, or prolonged illness, or in some cases simply constitutional), Liver Qi Stagnation (irregularity due to stress or emotional upset), and Heat or DampHeat (often caused by rich diet, longstanding emotional strain, or constitution.) All types should be treated with acupuncture and individualized herbal formulas, but there are some home remedies that can offer some temporary relief. Other therapies such as colonics and exercises such as qigong, meditation, and yoga are often a necessary component for treating constipation.

Yin and Blood Deficiency Type
In this case we want to lubricate the bowels to make evacuation easier. Eat moistening foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and good fats such as avocados. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. The following is a particularly effective remedy, only take care not to take too often as both prunes and spinach are high oxalate foods that can leach calcium from the system.

Mix the following in a blender:
1 pear
4-5 prunes
1/2 cup of raw spinach
1 tblsp. flaxseed meal

Liver Qi Stagnation Type
This type benefits the most from lifestyle changes such as a regular meditation practice, which is usually the last thing overly stressed people want to/can do. Acupuncture and appropriate herbs can start creating a sense of peace that the patient can then maintain. The same is true for getting a hypnotherapy session or attending a meditation class where someone else can direct you on how to relax so you can later do it yourself.

First thing upon awakening have a warm/hot glass of water with lemon/lime juice and a teaspoon of raw honey. The water should be warm as it will go to the bowels. Cold water sits in the stomach.

Heat or DampHeat Type
This type often involves a variety of factors including stress and inappropriate dietary habits.  more personalized acupuncture and lifestyle plan are often necessary. This is the type of patient who often does well with a high raw foods diet.

In this case lemon or lime juice with hot warm/hot water first thing in the morning is often helpful. People with DampHeat often have trouble drinking enough water, so adding a little lemon juice, cranberry juice, or greens formula to drinking water can be very helpful.

Daikon radish eaten between meals will help cool and decongest the body.

Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are 1 of the few oils that is actually beneficial for this constitution type and can be eaten regularly. A tea made with boiled water and 1 tblsp. of flaxseed meal can be taken 1-2 times a day on an empty stomach.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Natural Probiotics - Rejuvelac Recipe

Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. These microorganisms help keep yeast and less friendly bacteria in check. Probiotics can be purchased in health food stores, but you can also make your own inexpensive fermented culture at home to introduce healthy bacteria into your body.

Every traditional culture has fermented or cultured foods in its diet. They were a way to preserve food in times before refrigeration. They also have the benefit of balancing the body's bacteria. Probiotics are beneficial for everyone to maintain health in our increasingly sterile environment. Probiotics are especially indicated after any course of antibiotics, in cases of yeast infection, or digestive issues.

For recipes on making your own fermented cultures I recommend Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. What follows is a simple recipe for Rejuvelac, modified from Paul Pitchfork's classic Healing With Whole Foods:

2 cups wheat berries
1 quart water

  • Soak 2 cups wheat berries for 1 day. Discard soak water. Rinse berries and soak them again in a jar containing one quart of water. Cover the mouth of the jar with a cloth or sprout screen and let stand for 2 days. Pour off rejuvelac. Add 1 quart of water to wheat. After 1 day, pour off second batch of rejuvelac and compost wheat. Begin soaking more wheat berries to make a fresh batch of rejuvelac.
  • Makes 4 cups.
  • Rejuvelac tastes sour. If too sour, reduce fermentation time. If it tastes foul discard. Rejuvelac ferments faster in hot weather. Once made, keep refrigerated.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Beets & Carrots: Build Your Liver

An easy way to gently cleanse and strengthen your liver is to eat beets and carrots together. This can easily be incorporated in salads and juicing.

I further simplified a recipe I found Vegetarian Times Magazine, "Jewel-tone Pancakes with Creamy Yogurt-Dill Sauce," found on page 73. The original recipe in more involved so I recommend checking it out. Here was my fast version this morning:

1 beet, grated
1 large carrot, grated
4 eggs
olive oil
Salt, pepper, tarragon, etc. to taste

Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Add grated beets and carrots and seasoning. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium high. Spoon out about 1/4 cup of the beet mixture into the frying pan for each "pancake." Allow to brown for a few minutes and turn. And they're done!

I put the beet pancakes on toast with vegenaise and a slice of tomato. Surprisingly really good.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Second Spring; A Poetic Term for Menopause

No woman likes to think of menopause. Some of us even fall into depression when the inescapable happens. When we are hit with hot flashes, insomnia, foggy head, weight gain all at once, depression seams like a normal reaction.
One solution is to fight menopause with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), bio-identical or not. For different reasons, some women cannot tolerate HRT and come to our clinic for help. A great majority of them find relief with a combination of acupuncture and herbs combined with some dietary changes and exercise. I think that a change in perspective may also help. Instead of calling it menopause, I like the Chinese "second spring". It sounds more optimistic; more upbeat.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) women have two spring seasons.
The first spring is the season for growth, and it starts with menstruation at puberty. The first spring carries us  all the way to menopause. Through all the life changing experiences that will transform us into the mature human beings, preparing us for our second spring.
The Chinese author Titian Ni says that the second spring is "the time of renewal of spirit, a time of healing and forgiveness".
In TCM the human life is divided into seven cycles. Each cycle has seven years for women, and eight years for for men.
For women, by the age of seven the first cycle is finished and our teeth, hair and digestive system are developed. At age fourteen the first spring arrives bringing menstruation, development of breasts and the capability to conceive. It is said in TCM that at this time the Kidney Essence ( the root of vitality) flourishes and the body has abundant Blood. At twenty-one our bodies reach maturity, and some Chinese sources consider this the right time to conceive because Kidney Essence is at its peak. Age twenty-eight brings the maturity of emotions in sync with the maturity of the body, and some Chinese sources consider this the best time to conceive. By age thirty-five things slowly start going down hill. At forty-two skin, hair and bones start to change as Kidney Essence continues to decline. When we rich forty-nine the child-bearing years are coming to an end, closing the door of one period in our lives and starting our second spring. I am being nice with my choices of words from the classic Chinese text, which original I have included below.
Second spring in TCM means that the Blood that once flowed out of our bodies now is being used as extra nourishment for our internal organs, including the Heart. The Heart governs the Shen (Mind/Spirit). Well nourished hearts mean wiser minds.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Barefoot is back!

When I was a little girl I remember that when I really wanted to take off, I would kick off my shoes and my feet would grab the ground as I was off. This was especially useful when it counted, running from one of the bigger kids I played soccer with in the street or from a disciplining adult.

As I got older I became indoctrinated into the benefits of shoes and arch supports. I was told to stop running on my toes, and instead run heel to toe. Every activity I did had its own special shoe. I started having problems with my hips and knees and shoulders over the years, all due to "getting older." Acupuncture, massage, and yoga would all fix me for a while, and then I would do something to bring things back.

Recently my daughter had a serious injury that had her trying all kinds of things to fix it. One day she showed up with these weird-looking Vibrams shoes and convinced me to try them. I say shoes loosely as they are no more than toe socks with a rubber sole. Immediately my body started feeling better.

I now wear my Vibrams to work and walk barefoot whenever possible. I have no pain on my feet and my soles are smooth and hydrated. I've had a few women comment that they would never wear those shoes in public, but yesterday I felt vindicated as I read the first page of the Union Tribune Health section. I have heard of people being duped by knockoffs. Beware anything claiming to be 50% off.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Natural Treatment of Rosacea-Part II

Topical Treatments
Soothing facials and LED light therapy twice a week are very effective for bringing down the symptoms of rosacea, while the condition is being addressed internally.

Home Care
At home patients should avoid heat stimuli as much as possible. Exposure to sun or a heat source (such as a cook near a hot stove) can exacerbate rosacea as well as consumption of hot temperature foods and drink. Hot nature foods such as red wine, caffeinated drinks, spicy foods, and cured foods should be limited or avoided.

In terms of topical products, skin care without irritants is crucial. This cannot be emphasized enough. There is a great deal of misinformation in skincare marketing. For example, baby products often contain the most irritating ingredients though they are marketed for the most sensitive skin.
At our clinic we use Hylunia products to treat rosacea. Specifically the combination of Beyond Complex C and Pure Hyularonic Acid Solution brings down the redness and irritation dramatically. Other products are added depending upon the presentation of acne, dry or oily skin, etc.

Results to Expect
What we have found with our patients is that the redness and flushing becomes a tendency rather than a constant condition.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Natural Treatment of Rosacea-Part I

What Is It?
Rosacea (Brandy Nose) is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting primarily the central areas of the face. In advanced cases, the nose can become enlarged and deep red. For this reason rosacea is called "wine dregs nose" in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The skin is characterized by vascular dilation with or without acne in the form of pustules and papules. Typical onset is between 30-50 years of age. Rosacea is three times more common in women than in men, though men tend to get more severe symptoms.

TCM Diagnosis and Treatment
Heat and stagnation are the root of rosacea. Heat in the Stomach and Lung is implicated when rosacea presents with papules, oily skin, thirst, a rapid pulse, and a red tongue with yellow coating. Blood heat tends to manifest as bright red skin lesions with dark capillary vasodilation, constipation, scanty urination, a rapid pulse, and a red tongue with yellow coating. Dark red or purple skin lesions indicate Qi and Blood stagnation, along with dark purple tongue body and a choppy pulse. There may also be other imbalances in the body, which your acupuncturist will be able to diagnose. Treatment includes reguar acupuncture, customized Chinese herbal formulas, and nutritional counseling.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Injuries and the Mind


2 positive things I learned from injuries:

1. They can be used to teach you how your body is functioning less than efficiently. Having an injury that stopped me from doing what I wanted to do pushed me tro pay close attention to internal signals, to do rehabilitative exercises (I chose Z health and pool work) and get treatments (I chose acupuncture and massage) that made me stronger than I had been in the past.

2. First there is thought, then breath, then action, not the other way around. We often fail, panic, start hyperventilating, and develop a fear or limiting belief.

Having an injury forced me to learn this on a deeper level. First see and feel what it will be like when you are able to do something. (The more intensely you can feel it in your body the better. Also, looking at an actual picture or video of someone accomplishing a particular feat helps me.) Relax your eyes (no tunnel vision) and match your breathing to what you want to accomplish. Then, be relaxed and completely in tune with your body, not in a guarded way, but in a relaxed, I know my body can do this sort of way. Then do it. If your body tells you you can't just stop. Don't put any energy into the "failure." Take a break, maybe for a few minutes or a few days. Erase the tape. Visualize. Do it again.

Never identify yourself as an injured person. You have to learn to not believe you are slow, weak, deconditioned, etc. even though you are perceiving signals from your body saying you are. See yourself where you want to be and ignore everything else. An injury can be profound mental training that can be applied everywhere in your life.

Your body can absolutely regenerate itself. And there is no limitation to your body except the one you put on it.

Maybe #3 should be only hang out with people who support you in this.

Friday, February 5, 2010


"PSYCH-K" is a user-friendly way to rewrite the 'software' of your mind in order to change the 'printout' pf your life"
- Robert M. Williams, M.A. Originator of PSYCH-K

PSYCH-K stands for Psychological Kinesiology. It is a mind-body integration process that changes your beliefs not only on a conscious level but also on a subconsciou level! Since 95-99% of everything that goes on with you is subconscious that is the most critical part of the mind to get on board. Through PSYCH-K you are changing the wiring in your brain so you automatically respond differently. And it works!

PSYCH-K uses a simple process we can perform on ourselves and with others to input thought patterns we want to create and remove thought patterns that no longer serve us. It employs a variety of methods including Educational Kinesiology, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), acupressure, and Ericksonian hypnotherapy.

PSYCH-K can be used to deal with anything we want to change in our lives from overcoming stage fright to addictions to relationship issues to dealing with daily stress.

I recommend this course, and particularly Elizabeth Powers as a teacher to anyone wanting to make positive changes in their lives (which I would think would be everyone.)

Basic PSYCH-K  in San Diego
2/20 - 2/21/10 (Sat and Sun)
$375 2 weeks ahead, $425 thereafter

Elizabeth Powers
Certified PSYCH-K instructor

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Know Why the Caged Bear Sings

I am blessed to be surrounded by friends who inspire me. The other day one such friend was lamenting that he felt guilty because he had worked so hard all of his life and that currently he was achieving just as much financial success but at the same time thoroughly enjoying his life.

I was struck by a line in one of my new favorite books "The Book of Martial Power" by Steven Pearlman. In talking about the principles underlying all martial arts, Pearlman states as part of the ultimate standard of any martial art is that "Victory must be effortless."

What if life was meant to be effortless?

Not the effortlessness in the unskilled sort of beach bum or common charlatan type of effortless. That is more of an example of individuals often working harder not to work and evolve than they would if they had applied themselves to an honest living. But rather, what if the ultimate goal of life was mastery, like mastering a martial art. At first you struggle and work hard and get bogged down in details. You believe that all of that is necessary to learn to survive. But if you have seen a master of anything at work, it is like magic requiring no effort. (To look upon a prima ballerina is to think that such a person is simply born to effortlessly move that way, that not even her body remembers the years it took to break her feet into that capability.)

What if the point is to relax and act from a state of inspiration?

I have been practicing jiu-jitsu for about 5 years. Recently my teacher told me to soften my gaze when I was sparring. He told me to relax and stop focusing on the details. Tension, unnecessary tension, is the mark of a novice who lacks confidence in their techniques and confidence that they can win. And it is a pure waste of energy that actually hinders victory. My focus needed to be purely on keeping my own center (relaxing my vision to keep peripheral vision, relaxing my breathing as much as possible, maintaining control over my own body, etc.) and on seeing in my own mind how the dance would go. That's it. You actually get to the point that your opponent is an illusion, and disappears from your mind all together.

So after a few years of struggling against opponents who outweighed me by 40 to 100 or more lbs., struggling to get every detail of a move down, of learning the attack, the counter, and the counter of the counter, and now after all of that left-brain overanalysis my teacher was asking me to completely let that go and switch into right-brain inspired action. He said,"Have you ever seen a child playing? When they are really caught up in their story a bomb could go off behind them and it wouldn't distract them. That is the kind of focus you need to develop." Now my teacher never read Pearlman's book. He is not much of a reader. But a life of mastering his own body had taught him that transition.

To go from novice to mastery requires that you eventually let go of any belief in the struggle. It is a huge wall you meet with and you don't ever expect it. How can I let go of all that I have come to be, have worked so hard to be, and go in the opposite direction?

We've all heard the story of the bear who spends its whole life in a cage and when it is released still limits its life to the size of the cage. We evolve our identity, our sense of self in that transitory state of struggle. We say to ourselves, "I am the bear who struggles against the cage and if the cage isn't there and I am free, then who a I?"

We want happiness and joy and peace, but we build our lives around stress and struggle and drama.

The struggle was never the goal. It was a step; the perceived necessity. It never was, nor is, who we are.

So why the guilt?

For one thing, the majority of people around you won't understand you (but if you are like me you are used to this.)

I think the heart of it is that it's just a really good lie you were told once a long time ago; that life is hard. And it is really hard for most people most of the time. When you finally get to the other side and see it doesn't have to be that way maybe there is a bit of survivor's guilt.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Getting Grounded

My disconnect from my feet began when I was in my teens and I got my first pair of arch supports. This was followed by years of high tech running shoes and culminated in wearing MBT's.

As the distance literally grew between my feet and the ground I got more and more unsteady. I remember feeling for years in dance or yoga glass like there was a disconnect from my knees down.

Last week I started seeing a Z health practitioner, which in my interpretation is a systematic qigong joint mobility program with Western terminology. It basically uses proprioceptive rewiring to reconnect your brain with your body and fix alignment issues and overcome pain responses. I noticed after 2 days that my feet began to absolutely hate all my shoes. It was as if they were screaming at me every time I put something on my feet, "These soles are too rigid!"  or "I can't move!"

I invested in a pair of Sprint Vibram Five Finger shoes which basically allow you to walk barefoot everywhere. They take some breaking in.  At first they feel like you are wearing those toes spacers you wear when you get a pedicure.

I just came back from a walk with my dogs and it was a different experience. I felt fully in my body. My feet were picking up information when we walked over the assphault versus the cement sidewalk versus different kinds of earth and vegetation. It was like I had 2 extra hands supplying me with extra input. I didn't realize until this moment just how disconnected I had gotten.

There is a deadness that sweeps over us as we get more and more involved with our gadgets that occurs so slowly from childhood to adulthood that it is almost imperceptible. To be able to integrate that left-brained knowledge with our body's grounded intuition is a beautiful experience.

Next time you take a break try walking around barefoot.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Power of Visioning

I apologize in advance if this sounds like an endorsement, because it really is. I strongly believe in the visioning process because it bypasses our smaller, limited selves that would have us stay small, mediocre, and afraid.

Visioning is a process made popular recently by Michael Bernard Beckwith, who used the process to create Agape. It was a process he learned and modified from Native American tradition whereby you first ask Spirit its highest and best purpose for you. You get into a meditative state and ask a series of questions. You are asking first for a vision, and this can be for anything from the  direction of your life in general to how to organize your garden. It is an extremely powerful process to get clarity on the direction we need to go in.

My mentor and friend, Dale Bach, has taken this process a step further. She works with individuals and businesses through a 3 step process of visioning, visualization, and VAC.

Visioning is getting the inspiration and vision. Visualization is a process of grounding that vision and seeing how it will play out into your life. The VAC is a process of further grounding the vision by imagining how it will look, sound like, feel like, etc. Dale uses special tools for this to create almost immediate changes. Having experienced the results of this process I would never start a group venture, business, marriage, without it. It is has also been key in my personal life.

Dale Bach can be contacted at 310-614-2414 and sees clients in person, by phone, or via skype.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Letting Go

Virginia passed away this morning at sunrise. She died in my dad's arms. My mom and I had fought for so long to keep her healthy. My mom would make her food from scratch. I was always coming up with supplements and therapies. She had struggled all her life and was the strongest, most dignified creature I have ever met. I think it was my inability to let her go that kept her going too long. I think it's why she couldn't die in front of me.

My parents found Virginia on the side of a back road in peanut country, Virginia. She was a tiny puppy who smelled of pig poop. She was literally starving. Her skeleton exposed and her affect slow and dull. My parents stopped a home nearby, but the occupant said,"Oh, they're always dumping animals around here at the trash ." Apparently when the local people wanted to get rid of there pets, they dumped them with the garbage.

Virginia was so concerned with eating that she would pee when presented with food. This was my first introduction to her. I put her on my lap and reached to give her a treat and was christened. My mom worked tirelessly with her to get over her food obsession, which she never fully got over. Being that she looked like a black beagle, it was also likely genetic.

She was a good dog. The kind you don't have to train. She could be walked of leash on trails and she would always look back to you to see what you wanted. She would go relieve herself discreetly in the bushes. And she would always alert us to any new person or animal with her soulfull bay.

She developed an autoimmune disease that caused the pads of her paws to come off and she later suffered from recurrent liposarcoma. I believe that the cancer was what is referred to as injection site sarcoma, which is more common in cats. It is triggered by injections being given in the same spot along with a hyperactive immune system. (This is why vets now vary the injection site visit to visit.)

Everything that hit her, Virginia would fight off. Nothing could break her. This went on for years, but then the last few days she began getting very weak. She ate very little and rarely got up.

Yesterday I felt her distancing herself from me, like she wanted space. This morning I felt her shame that she had soiled the carpet. Until the very end she insisted on going outside, even when it was difficult to walk and it was raining.

I swear today that I could see her running, in that funny way she would do when she was going as fast as she could, with her tail curled under and her big hound dog ears flopping. I know she is free now.

And so today I am letting go. I am letting go of my attachment to Virginia's body, that could no longer serve her. In doing so I am pulling closer to who she really is, the half-wild, proud hound who is forever free.

I am also letting go a little more of my pettiness. As often happens when you see someone die, all of the stupid judgements and concerns seem ridiculous. I am letting go of people (myself included) not behaving the way they should, or things not working out the way they ought to. I am letting go of what no longer serves me, as Virginia did today.

"Near this Spot are deposited the Remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferosity, and all the virtues of Man without his Vices. This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human Ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of. . . a dog." ~Lord Byron

Monday, January 18, 2010

So What Do You Do When You’re Taking a Break?

Years ago in an acupuncture class my teacher gave us the assignment to be “totally present” for 24 hours during all of our activities. (This was similar to what the Zen Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh advocates.) So, when we did the dishes we just focused on doing the dishes, no TV, no radio, etc. And you do these activities just for the sake of doing them. I remember feeling so frustrated, annoyed, and deprived. I simply experienced emptiness and it wasn’t pleasant.

I do not have ADHD. I don’t get bored easily. So why wasn’t I able to comfortably do the assignment? I remember as a child exploring the woods on my grandparents’ farm in upstate New York and sitting still and just watching the quiet forest come alive when it thought I had left it alone. I had no problems being present then.

I remember going to the Amazon years later and feeling the world I knew slip away under its dense canopy, as if the modern world had never existed. I felt absolutely present then.
I could sit for hours painting or drawing as a teenager completely immersed in the present moment.
So what was different then? I was sitting in awe of great beauty.

I realized that what worked better for me was not simply removing the distractions, but focusing my attention on something I wanted to fill my life with, like, beauty, joy, connection, peace, etc.

Give the moment to a higher purpose.

When you are sitting in the car, stuck in traffic, try turning off the radio. Notice how beautiful the sunset or sunrise is or the clouds in the sky. Just for a moment. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Just a moment.
Next time you are waiting in line rather than checking your email or texting someone, simply be in line and look around you. Don’t allow yourself to focus on the distracted chaos that is usually apparent, but see something beautiful, something peaceful and embrace it.

The next time you have a conversation with someone really see them. Listen as if there was no time; as if there was nothing you had to do as soon as the conversation was over. Just listen and feel how good being connected to another human being feels.

When you are with a child or a pet this can be easier and might be a good first step. For example, if you ever watch the Dog Whisperer , the host Caesar Milan always talks about how your energy in the moment affects your dogs . This is especially helpful when you have a problem dog. Notice how your energy is around the dog and how when you change it, your dog’s behavior changes almost immediately.

This little exercise will bring you peace. A peace that is not dependent upon the constantly changing events around you. It is a peace that is based on what you choose to place in the spaces between the noise.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

5 Element Meditation: Water Element

We focus on increasing our water element when we want to feel more spiritually connected. The water element meditation is particularly helpful for those who feel a lack of imagination, find their lives too rgid, have trouble being alone, and want to cultivate wisdom, fluidity, or sensuality. Due to the fact that the water element relates to our kidneys and urinary bladder organs, this meditation will also help to strengthen these organs.

Water Meditation:
Sit by the lake or the ocean, or float in a pool or in a bath tub. In this meditation don't follow a rigid structure. Gently become aware of your breathing. Allow your mind to turn inward. Focus loosely on the mystery around you, letting go completely of what should be or having any goals. Let the mind wander. Look at the ripples in the water, watch the clouds passing overhead, or the antics of a seagull. Just sit in the presence of the divine and enjoy the company. Let that take your mind where it needs to go. Have no other goals than that.

Finally, simply sit, receptive to what the water 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.