Here’s Looking At You Kid…

Kelly's Eye by Icefreez
Kelly’s Eye, a photo by Icefreez on Flickr.

Want two easy and quick ways to do something nice for your eyes? First, get an eye pillow you can love. The next step is to use it! The comfortable weight of a proper eye pillow helps the optic nerve to relax; it’s like a nap for your optic nerve.
The second nice thing to do targets your vision. Chrysanthemum tea does wonders to help you “see the light”. Look for the tea at your local health food store or anywhere that carries herbal tea.


Acupuncture by nsawc
Acupuncture, a photo by nsawc on Flickr.

Continuing the blog entries showcasing the different “tools” acupuncturists use, this entry highlights moxabustion. Moxabustion involves using mugwort, (Artemisia vulgaris) and burning it near, and occasionally on, the body.  The least processed mugwort looks like unbleached cotton. The leaves are harvested and then ground up to make a cotton-like lint. From there the “lint” can be rolled to make sticks (similar in shape to cigars) or twisted into hard little strips about an eighth of an inch long. Moxa can be burned on the needles as you can see in this picture. The cigar-like sticks are waved above specific points and areas on the body. Occasionally moxa is burned directly on the body but only by qualified acupuncturists. For times when burning the herb is inappropriate, there is a type of oil made from the mugwort that is applied directly to the desired area.

But why would an acupuncturist want to use mugwort? Good question! Ai ye (the Chinese name for this herb pronouced aiyee yay) is used to warm and to move blood.  It is particularly effective as an emmenagogue, meaning a substance  that increases blood circulation to the pelvic area and uterus and stimulates menstruation.  So, if you think that cold and decreased blood circulation may be getting in the way of your good health ask your acupuncturist about moxa at your next visit.

True Help…

If you have been as moved as I about the tragedy still unfolding in Japan please consider helping in a non-monetary way. I have had the extreme pleasure and honor to have lived in Japan for two years. Not only did my experiences there teach me about the wonders of acupuncture, I also learned, in so many ways, just how wonderful Japan is.  Throughout my time in their country I was always treated with kindness, and came to know just how generous and earnest the Japanese are.  Many have claimed that as a first nation Japan does not need our monetary assistance. That may be true but human hardship has its own costs. If you would like to give in ways other than money please consider getting involved via the link below.

Many thanks!

When Is Exercising Not Exercising?

Running by Miss Treats
Running, a photo by Miss Treats on Flickr.

When you do it to move your qi and blood instead of doing it to exercise!

Not too long ago a patient of mine was concerned about the ability to maintain her exercise routine. She felt that she was losing that drive that usually kept her up and going. Another patient reported that he felt he had a genetic imperative to avoid activity. Saying, “Just Do It!”, wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, we talked about how traditional Chinese medicine makes sense of what is happening when you exercise.

For most of us, after the age of 30, our bodies begin to show signs of “clumping”. Many of the issues that start to show up after 30, for example diabetes, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease and Alzheimer’s to name a few, are some form of qi, blood or damp clumping in the body. The way to minimize or reduce clumping is to move qi and blood and reduce or eliminate damp.

In this way, exercising is the means to move qi and blood.

By changing their perspective regarding the goals of exercise, both patients re-energized their commitment to doing it.

Now get out there and move your qi and blood. No clumping allowed!

Qi Gong

Want a great, take-with-you-anywhere meditative workout? Qi-gong is the thing for you!
The qi of qi gong often is translated as the non-static relationship between matter and energy. It’s the same qi your acupuncturist is always talking about. The gong of qi gong can translate as power used for results. Qi gong is a mindful practice that is not only a great workout but you also regulate the qi within you through your mind/body connection. Great qi means great health- a subject near and dear to any acupuncturist’s heart.

There are 4 categories of qi gong: dynamic, static, meditative and a fourth group that uses outside “tools” to achieve balanced qi. Dynamic qi-gong is the most easily recognized form here in the U.S. These forms use choreographed movements to cultivate and regulate qi. Tai chi is the martial arts form of dynamic qi gong (think Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid” intoning: “Wax on! Wax off!”). Dynamic qi gong is  prescribed here at the office for many issues including increasing immunity or decreasing fatigue. In contrast, static qi gong makes and balances qi by holding specific postures. Meditative qi gong includes the tools that you would expect such as visualization and breath work. Using herbs and bodywork, as well as other tools for qi gong propagation, is the fourth type.

Qi gong is an important tool in traditional Chinese medicine; we use it to avoid and to treat disease. It’s used in martial arts to train participants. Taoists and Buddhists use it for meditation and Confucian scholars have long used it to better their characters.

Explore what qi gong can offer you-

Check out the links below for more information.

Wikipedia– qi gong

Tai Chi short form– don’t be put off by the spoken Chinese in this video- it’s only a short introduction. This is an excellent example of Tai Chi short form and is certainly not as easy as this demonstrator makes it look.

8 Form Tai Chi– good to use anywhere (outside is great) and especially if you only have a few minutes.