A Very Useful Thing…Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt by Epsom Salt
Epsom Salt, a photo by Epsom Salt on Flickr.

As you may have guessed, especially if you ever read the practice newsletter, I have a little thing about Epsom salt. Anything natural, simple and above-average useful gets my vote for being designated as a VUT (a very useful thing). Of course acupuncture is also natural, simple and above-average useful and therefore a VUT but today it’s all about Epsom salt!
Firstly, did you know that there is more than one kind of salt? It’s true! All salts are a product formed by the neutralization of an acid by a base. The salt we eat is NaCl or sodium (Na) chloride (Cl). Sodium chloride is so intricately linked to human history in so many ways it’s amazing! Epsom salt may look like table salt, but rather than it being a combo of sodium and chloride, it is a combo of magnesium and sulfate. Okaaaaay, you say, so what? Good question! Those two substances mean good things for your health.
To name just one benefit of magnesium in the body, it helps regulate around 300 enzymes. Sulfate helps detoxify the body among other important functions.
Interested in learning more? Visit the Epsom Salt Council here.
And what is an excellent way to enjoy the benefits of this VUT? A nice bath full of dissolved Epsom salt! Get clean and get healthier all at the same time; how great is that?

Posted in aVUT. 2 Comments »

Making The Most Of Things With Mindfulness

Have you ever gone fishing, caught a beautiful fish, cleaned that fish and then wrapped that fish in packaging to keep it until you cooked it in just the way you like it? Have you ever bought fish sticks out of the freezer at your local supermarket? VERY different experiences. Granted, with the way we have all agreed that daily reality should go, most of us don’t have the time to fish on a regular basis but anytime you can connect/be involved with any of your food from it’s beginning to end is incredibly healthful. Just think about all the potential encoding that goes along with each step of our fish experience. To catch that fish maybe you were on a boat or shoreline in a beautiful location with friends or loved ones. At some point you would’ve had to learn how to clean and package fish; learning something new is wonderful for the brain. And then the cooking part- how satisfying is it to cook something delicious (dare we say nutritious?)  for yourself or others?

Just recently I had the opportunity to help friends with their coffee crop. We picked the beans, separated the beans from their skin (sorry- the correct terminology has escaped me so far!) and then helped package the roasted beans. The picture on the label is original artwork by the coffee grower. All this happened amongst friends on beautiful days in a spectacular location. Is it fair to say that this is the best coffee on planet Earth? Why yes, I would have to say it is.

What full-process food stories do have to share? Tell us about them in the comments section. Thanks!

The 5 Element You

senses by joaoloureiro
senses, a photo by joaoloureiro on Flickr.

Did you know that not all acupuncturists practice the same kind of traditional Chinese medicine? On the surface of things all acupuncturists may appear to be doing similar things, like needling and prescribing herbs, but once you know about the different styles of practice you can then recognize the differences between them.

5 element acupuncture is one of the styles of TCM practice. A 5 element practitioner will listen to your chief concern(s) but they are also going to: listen to the quality of your voice, look for a coloration around your temples and/or eyes, search for a significantly present or suspiciously absent emotion and smell your neck and/or lower back area (yes, that’s right, SMELL you). Each of these “areas” of observation will give the acupuncturist clues as to the state of your well-being and help him or her determine the best course of treatment for you.

Curious about what a 5 element treatment is like? Ask your acupuncturist what kind of treatment they practice. If they don’t practice the 5 element style they can probably help find the right 5e person for you!

Aloha Ginger Turmeric Lemonade!

Can anything be better than travel? A chance to refresh, renew and reconnect to things we love. And also a chance to try new, healthful, delicious beverages. This wonderful concoction is brought to you by Susan G of the BIG island. She prefers not to drink simple water but instead brews this deliciously delectable ginger turmeric lemonade. Lucky for us that she does and is willing to share!

Ginger is a warming tonic for the digestive system. It stimulates the circulatory system. In China it is sometimes used as an antidote for seafood poisoning. For motion sickness, morning sickness or post-operative sickness it’s a great nausea tonic. Ginger can also help with fevers and coughs. And you thought it was only a garnish for sushi! Actually, it’s not by chance that ginger comes with your sushi. The warmth of the ginger counteracts the cold of the cold sushi rice. Neat huh?

Turmeric is a cousin of ginger. It alleviates indigestion, bloating and stomach upset. It is anti-inflammatory in nature (I saw the immediate effects of this lemonade at work on a case of gastritis)  as well as a powerful antioxidant. It has culinary, medicinal, cosmetic, dying, gardening (it’s a natural ant repellant) and ceremonial uses. Curcumin is one of the compounds of turmeric showing great promise medicinally. Preliminary studies show that it has the potential to fight the effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. It is used in some sunscreens and is anti-cancerous.

Mint is great for good health! It shows abilities in decreasing indigestion, gastritis, bloating and flatulence. It also decreases the signs of irritable bowel syndrome.

Lemon juice is a good source of vitamin C, bioflavanoids and potassium. The juice is a super booster for the immune system. Lemons and lemon juice are good for mouth ulcers and gum disease.

If you choose to add in the honey, know that it can be good for you too. Yes, it’s 70% sugars and the glycemic index ranges from between 30 and 80, but it is full of trace amounts of different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants making it a better sweetener choice than refined sugar. Here’s a little factoid about honey: it’s 40% denser than water.

Check out Susan’s step-by-step picture directions:

Mahalo Susan!

Oh, and just for fun- want to hear real-time, streaming humpback whales singing in Puako, Hawaii? If it’s the right season click here to hear!

Posted in food. 3 Comments »