natural awakenings magazine articles of 2022

"Living in Harmony with Nature" January/2022

Classical Chinese medicine guides us toward improved health and longevity through living harmoniously with nature. This includes the importance of spending adequate time outdoors whether it be taking a walk in the woods, strolling along the boardwalk or walkway, taking in the flowing energy of the ocean or simply sitting outside and gazing at the trees, mountains or body of water.

Such activities provide the opportunity to take a deep breath and appreciate the beauty and healing power inherent within our natural environment. This explains why it is traditionally recommended for Taiji (Tai Chi) or Qigong (Chi Kung) practitioners to perform outdoors whenever possible.

Living in harmony with nature also includes adjusting one’s lifestyle habits based on the changing cycles of the seasons.
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"Nourishing Your Righteous Qi" February/2022

Establishing right living habits is at the core of preventing disease and dysfunction according to the principles of Chinese medicine.

The primary goal of this ancient healing paradigm is not to regulate what is already chaotic, nor treat what is already diseased, but rather to regulate and balance chaos before it begins to develop. It highlights the importance of prevention and staying balanced to ensure a long and healthy life. This means treating disease or imbalance energetically prior to their developing as a physical manifestation or structural change. Chinese medicine, moreover, focuses on supporting the innate healing capacity held within each person described as “enhancing the righteous” and traditionally known as “Fu Zheng”.

Making conscious life choices in the spirit of establishing right living habits is an excellent place to start. Sensible and balanced decisions in daily life builds, cultivates and protects the body’s vital substances, rather than squandering them through over-work and overindulgence.
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"Balancing Thyroid Energetics" March/2022

When working toward balancing the energetic system of a person with a thyroid issue, a Chinese medicine practitioner keeps a keen eye on how excessive heat or deficient cold manifests within their body. This is based on hypothyroidism being a deficiency syndrome of kidney energy in the form of coldness and hyperthyroidism being an overabundance of liver energy in the form of heat. Thyroid imbalances may also involve imbalanced energetics of the spleen and heart meridians. Moreover, a practitioner continually looks for additional root causes contributing to a person’s overall health picture particularly in terms of lifestyle patterns. Treatment of the whole person is of primary importance with special attention to how qi (vital energy) flows throughout the body. The goal is to release blockages and to rectify deficiency or excess to re-establish balance and abundant flow of energy.
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"Embracing Upright Qi" April/2022

Freely flowing qi – the vital energy that flows through the meridian pathways of the body – is essential to sustaining health with the outcome being a long and vibrant life. Optimal health is achieved through developing the habit of being cognizant of sensations and feelings that are indicative of stagnant or imbalanced qi developing within the body.

Make a concerted effort to eating properly, being around warm loving people and communing with nature whenever possible. Walking by a river, stream or ocean is a wonderful reminder of how nature is governed by the ebb and flow of energy, with the same true for the human body.

Becoming stuck ...
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"Maintaining Strong Bones" May/2022

For many, it is difficult to imagine that their bones will ever be anything but super strong, although as the aging process progresses this is not always the case. Several factors contribute to the weakening of bones such as a sedentary lifestyle with improper diet compounded by the depleted mineralization of our soil.

This results in the loss of calcium and other essential minerals thereby weakening bone structure. In the worst-case scenario, this leads to osteoporosis, possibility of debilitating fractures and the rude awakening that one’s bones are hindering ability to continue daily life activities.

Osteoporosis is more common for women and affects approximately 200 million women throughout the world. It is thus prudent to ...
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"The Heart of Summer" June/2022

Summer is a time when our consciousness and spiritual awareness peaks. The primary element of summer is fire which rules the heart. Nourishing and balancing the energetics of our heart during this season can impact regulation of blood circulation, sleep quality, and sharpness of our memory.

Putting our heart into activities and relationships which bring joy into our lives is a must. Seize the opportunity to laugh, run, jump, and play regardless of our age. Seek ways to spread positive energy. Keep oneself cool, calm and collected by “going with the flow” of summer heat.

Eating less and more lightly on hot, bright days is certainly a healthy practice. Chinese food therapy informs us...
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"Alleviating Anxiety with Chinese Medicine" July/2022

Chinese medicine lessens anxiety by calming the mind through “pacifying the heart and spirit.” It works to dispel exces- sive worry through balancing the energetics of the spleen, as this organ system is associated with overthinking according to the Law of the Five Elements. Positive results are further achieved through build- ing kidney energy thereby reducing excessive fear and simultaneously enhancing the core energy of the entire body.

A modality such as acupuncture removes energetic blockages, restores proper flow of qi (vital energy) and brings one into a more balanced state of health via the insertion of small, thin needles into specific acupuncture points on the body. It is traditionally known to activate the parasympathetic nervous system thereby bringing forth quietude and al- lowing one to “rest and digest” in stressful situations.

This helps to explain the basis for recent research suggesting that acupuncture works for anxiety by impacting how the body triggers the fight or flight response.
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"Qi Mind, Qi Body" August/2022

It is not unusual today to see people in the park standing with their arms held out in front of their bodies looking into the distance. They are diligently working to develop their mind intent and expand their awareness through the practice of an internal system of Gong Fu known as Yiquan (pronounced ‘ee-chwan’). What you are witnessing is a form of standing meditation known for its simplicity and commonly referred to as the “style of no styles”. This makes it relatively easy to perform and apropos for a beginning student of the internal energetic arts.

Yiquan is translated as “intention practice” or “mind fist.” Regular practice helps to reduce stress and draws a practitioner into a tranquil and peaceful state of mind. It produces a clear and focused mind with increased concentration, creativity and productivity.

As a spiritual practice, Yiquan works toward nourishing your spirit (shen) thereby bringing one more into the present moment, increasing intuitive and psychic capacity and developing mind intent (yi).
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"The Mind-Body-Mouth Connection" September/2022

There is no way to get around the fact that nutritious food and drink provide a strong foundation for creating optimal health. Today chronic, diet-related disease has reached epidemic proportions in the US with almost 900,000 people dying each year – all related to chronically unhealthy eating habits. One out of every three Americans die of heart disease, stroke, cancer, some combined with Type II diabetes. Fortunately, our physical body has the innate ability to nourish itself through food and drink – a natural process that begins with birth. Yet, for many people achieving this goal is often easier said than done. The Chinese medicine approach to health provides methods for establishing more constructive (versus destructive) ways of nourishing oneself. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the body-mind connection through removing energetic blockages and establishing proper flow of Qi.

This ancient paradigm helps one deal with stressful situations along with reducing cravings and the tendency to binge on sugary, salty or fatty foods. It heals the split between one’s physical and energetic counterparts resulting in a greater sense of inner peace, while establishing a strong mind-body-mouth connection.
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"Chinese Medicine and the Vagus Nerve" October/2022

The two main components of our nervous system are the sympathetic (fight or flight) corresponding to Yang energy and the parasympathetic (rest & digest) corresponding to Yin energy in Chinese medicine. As a major aspect of the parasympathetic nervous system, the vagus nerve provides a pathway connecting the brain to the body. It originates in the brain and moves throughout the neck and torso regulating digestion, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, immunity and mood.

The vagus nerve allows neurochemical information to travel from the brain to the organs. This includes feel-good endorphins that help one cope with pain or stress. This key nerve is also involved in establishing a bi-directional connection between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract commonly known as the “brain-gut axis.”
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"Understanding Fascia" November/2022

The fascia of our body is described as “a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds & holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place".

Although once thought to be a useless gel-like substance, research is finding how important healthy fascia is for maintaining vibrant and long-lasting health. Interestingly, the three key methods for keeping fascia in good working order are: hydration, massage and conscious movement.

The importance of sipping water throughout the day cannot be emphasized enough to keep your fascia healthy and properly hydrated. Otherwise, the fascia becomes parched, shriveled and unable to deliver its essential role of preserving internal structure. This is oftentimes likened to a sponge that is dry, brittle and hard, versus a wet sponge that is springy and resilient. Moreover, when fascia is dehydrated it doesn’t glide well, increasing friction and leading to the release of inflammatory chemicals, production of a glue-like material and greater chance of injury such as a tear or rupture. Therefore, it is a smart idea and quite beneficial to drink lots of fluids to keep one’s body in excellent shape.
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"Clearing Inflammation" December/2022

Asian medicine views inflammation as the root cause of many health problems. Its ancient texts describe inflammation as ‘internal heat’ and recommend various methods and lifestyle habits for clearing it from the system. Techniques such as acupuncture have been employed to treat chronic pain and other conditions associated with inflammation for centuries.

An acupuncturist typically evaluates the level of heat or inflammation through observation and asking questions about a person’s symptoms, emotional state and lifestyle habits. Further information is gathered through evaluating levels of tightness, tenderness, pain or discoloration while palpating their meridian (energetic) pathways. Due to the association of meridians to the vital organs, this ofentimes connects levels of inflammation with a particular energetic organ system.
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