Tips to having an awesome lymphatic system!

Posted on Jun 23, 2017

Tips to having an awesome lymphatic system! The lymphatic system, which is a complicated network of fluid filled lymphs, glands, organs and vessels,  is rarely talked about, but so important.  It’s basically the body’s garbage man or waste management, which in New York is really code word for mafia, but I digress.  For patients who experience chronic problems, they might be a little more familiar with this slightly mysterious system. The lymphatic system’s main job is to get rid of toxins (internal and external) and protect the body against invasions.  The largest lymphatic tissue in the body is the Spleen and plays a huge part in immune defense and red and white blood cells. One of the interesting things about lymph is, unlike blood, there is no pump, it relies on relaxation and contraction of muscles and joints to move it, so the lymphatic system can get sluggish and easily stagnant.  When it becomes overwhelmed, it can lead to impaired immunity, cellulite, edema, chronic pain, fatty deposits, sinusitis and upper respiratory issues.  As you can see it’s super important to keep this system moving!  Thanks to The Chalkboard, A Guide to Living Well, here’s some easy tips to keeping the garbage men happy!   ACUPUNCTURE You knew this was coming, right?  Acupuncture is incredible for moving and balancing the lymphatic system, it’s one of the only modalities that can focus directly on the Qi and blood of the Spleen, which is the largest lymphatic organ.  We also believe that stress plays a huge part in that potential stagnating energy of the lymphatic system, so acupuncture can also address stress in the whole body and the Qi flow of the liver as well.  Remember there is no pump in the lymphatic system, so the body needs free flowing energy of Qi to transport those toxins.  Acupuncture is your answer!    REBOUNDING Rebounding is one of the easiest ways to pump the lymph. Rebounding is the practice of jumping on a trampoline (yes, remember when we did this for fun!?) for ten to thirty minutes. This passively moves the lymph while stimulating the circulation of blood throughout the body. Numerous studies have proven its efficacy, and have even shown it to improve muscle tone.   INVERSION TABLE An inversion table is a padded table that allows one to invert upside down while strapped in by the feet. The inversion process decompresses the joints of the body and stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory system. This brings blood and oxygen to the tissues, which helps to clear the muscles of toxic build-up. By inverting, gravity works with, not against, the body, encouraging the movement of the lymph. It also improves spinal health by rehydrating...

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What’s on the magical Tao to Wellness headphones?

Posted on Jun 15, 2017

What’s on the magical Tao to Wellness headphones? I wouldn’t have believed the hype, the website alone makes me cringe, you know those never ending websites with the HUGE “Try Us Now” button.  It just screams scam to me. Guess what?  It’s not a scam.  In 2000 I shared an office with crystal healer, Clifton Harrison, he introduced me to these magical tracks and I’ve been throwing noise cancellation headphones on every patient since then.  Amazing! The two tracks created by Centerpointe Institute are called Dive and Immersion, they are both 30 minutes each.  The Dive helps ‘catch’ your brain as Clifton calls it, and slows it down into a meditative state, Delta to be exact.  It then continues to take you deeper and deeper into The Matrix with Neo and Trinity, just kidding, just deeper into Delta states. Immersion follows and as the name implies brings you even deeper, however during an acupuncture treatment it actually brings you out of Delta and back to current space and time.  I don’t have a solid answer as to why this happens, but I believe it’s a combination of the two working together. Acupuncture works with the Qi or energy of the body.  It takes 23 minutes for the Qi to cycle through each organ, so it makes sense to me that in about 35 minutes or so the patient ‘returns’ since it takes most patients 10 minutes to drop into a quiet state initially.  Almost every patient loves these tracks!  And then every once in awhile, I would get a patient who felt irritated by them or a patient that couldn’t ‘drop down’.  Maybe they hated the Bells (Dive) or they preferred the Rain only (Immersion).  I came to find that these patients needed a little extra time in the initial stage, their brainwaves were moving much, much faster than others.  So, I threw the headphones on and then I came back in 5 minutes, quietly entered the room and hit rewind to the beginning of the track, and then I did it again in another 5 minutes.  It worked!  After my 2 rewinds, patients were able to relax and go deeper like everyone else.  Even more interesting is I usually only needed to do this for about 3 treatments, after that patients took to the Delta states much easier. To give you an idea of what all this feels like for a patient, here’s some quotes: I’m kind of here in the room, but not really here. I felt like I was levitating. It’s better than drugs! (my personal favorite) I felt like I was in another universe. That was an out of body experience. Since then patients always ask...

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Fertility Boosting Foods!

Posted on Jun 9, 2017

Fertility Boosting Foods! At Tao to Wellness we’ve mastered the science behind baby making through acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and nutritional support. Foods have properties just like herbal medicine.  When a patient eats certain foods at certain times of their cycle, there is an impact… sometimes positive and sometimes negative.  Since we want to give patients the best case scenario when they are under our care, we compiled a list of what foods support the two main phases of the cycle.  Below you’ll find foods broken down into Follicular, which is from the end of the period until ovulation, this is a building phase for the lining and the nourishing phase of Yin.  And Luteal, which is from ovulation until the period happens.  The temperature warms, there can be a possibility of implantation and this is a time of Yang.  An * is a food that is extremely strong and highly recommended for this time of the cycle.   FOLLICULAR phase of your cycle: Fruits Apples, Apricots, Banana, Blueberry, Fig, Grape, Mango, Pear, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Watercress Vegetables Asparagus, Beets, Dandelion, Kelp, Leafy greens*- including kale, spinach (best with a splash of citrus), Lemon, Microalgae, Millet, Mulberry, Nettle*, Parsley, Pea, Seaweed, Spinach, String Bean, Sweet potato Grains Barley, Millet, Sweet rice Meats: Beef*, Bone Marrow- Bone Broth*, Cheese, Duck, Liver, Oxtail*, Pork, Sardines Other: Black sesame*, Honey, Royal Jelly*   LUTEAL phase of your cycle: Fruits Citrus Vegetables Cabbage, Kale, Onion, Leek, Chive, Parsnip, Parsley, Mustard Greens, Winter Squash Grains Lentils, Quinoa Meats Anchovy, Lamb, Trout, Salmon (check with Seafoodwatch.org for sources) Nuts Chestnut, Pecan, Pistachio Spices Aniseed, Basil, Caraway, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Dill Seed, Fennel Seed, Garlic, Ginger*, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Star Anise, Thyme   To enjoy ANYTIME throughout your cycle! Avocado, Pineapple, Beans (Aduki, Black, Kidney), Cashews, Cherry, Dates, Eggs* and Walnuts   Keep in mind— Organic when possible Fruits and veggies that are in season Check with www.seafoodwatch.org for the healthiest sources. In Health, Christina Martin, L.Ac. Tao to Wellness Acupuncture Berkeley, California...

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Paleo Diet or Vegetarian Diet?

Posted on Jun 5, 2017

Paleo Diet or Vegetarian Diet? What’s a girl to do?  There are so many diets out there and I’m not referring to fad diets necessarily.  Just different ways of eating that work for different body types.  How to choose… I personally have been on every single diet known to man (or woman) including the fad ones.  Here’s what I came up with; eat what makes you feel good, eat what makes you feel alive and energetic.  Case in point, I did Whole30 a few years ago (basically paleo, no dairy, alcohol, sugar, grains) and by day 25 I looked like I was ready for a coffin, I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open.  Finally our acupuncturist, Nikole Maxey looked at me and said, “Why don’t you have just a little bit of rice?” What a brilliant idea, I was so hell bent on doing it right, and I obviously wasn’t thinking straight.  I ate rice and my energy perked up immediately.  So, Whole30 as wonderful as it is, is not for me.  I also gained weight during those 25 days which again is not the norm for that particular diet. I’ve seen many patients over the years with exactly this profile, vegetarians/vegans with severe fatigue and high cholesterol.  To be clear, I’m not a proponent either way of paleo or vegetarianism, I’m just more interested in a diet creating health and optimum balance for that patient.  People think that high cholesterol is a marker showing too much red meat and rich foods, it can be, but it’s not the only way to get high cholesterol.  From a functional medicine perspective, it can also be from too many carbs, not enough protein, so the body is deprived of amino acids for balanced brain chemistry, the thyroid isn’t regulated, the detoxification of the body is off and so on and so on, hence the body creates too much cholesterol.  The fix I found; is Eggs.  Eggs always seem to the harmless first step for vegetarians and vegans since so many choose that diet for moral reasons as well.  I’ve also seen vegetarian patients eventually go Paleo all the way and they are feeling great.  As the Dalia Lama says, “If you can, vegetarianism is the best way to go from a spiritual standpoint, but if protein is what your body needs, that’s fine too.”  The Dalai Lama does eat meat now due to the urging of his Ayurvedic physician. I’ve also had a patient who was on a fad shake diet, shakes for breakfast and lunch and then a sensible dinner, doesn’t sound too horrible, right?  The kicker was it had to be absolutely NO FAT, none at...

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The summer season is upon us…

Posted on Jun 3, 2017

The summer season is upon us… Even though the Bay area doesn’t quite have summer like the rest of the country, the energy and properties of summer still apply! Summer is a yang season and is associated with the Heart, Pericardium (“the Heart wrapper”), Small Intestine and the Triple Burner (a Chinese organ that closely resembles the 2nd, 3rd and 4th chakras). Summer is a period of luxurious growth. To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer, awaken early in the morning and reach to the sun for nourishment. Summer offers abundant variety and the diet should reflect this. Minerals and oils are sweated out of the body, and their loss can cause weakness if they are not replaced by a varied diet. To be more comfortable, drink hot liquids and take warm showers to induce sudden sweating and to cool the body. Summer heat combined with too much cold food (Ex. salads and raw fruits, remember moderation!) can weaken the digestive organs, coldness causes contraction and interferes with digestion. Iced drinks and ice cream actually contract the stomach and stop digestion. Use plenty of brightly colored summer fruits and vegetables. Cook lightly and regularly, add a LITTLE spicy, pungent, or even fiery flavor, but not too much! When sautéing, use high heat for a very short time and keep in mind, olive oil is an unstable oil and under high heat can cause free radicals, try some new stable oils, like coconut (great for the thyroid and detoxifying the blood), canola and rice bran oil. Also, steam and simmer foods as quickly as possible. Use little salt and more water. Cooling fresh foods for summer are salads, sprouts (mung, soy and alfalfa), fruit, cucumber, tofu (not too much if you have estrogen dominance!), flower and leaf teas (mint, chrysanthemum and chamomile), watermelon, lemons and limes. The hot flavored spices are also considered appropriate in the warmest weather, at first their effect is to bring warmth, but ultimately they bring body heat out to the surface to be dispersed. With heat on the surface, one’s body mirrors the summer climate and therefore will be less affected by it. Red and green hot peppers, cayenne red pepper, fresh ginger, horseradish, black pepper are all ideal for this purpose, but if you are allergic to nightshades, do not use peppers. However, if too many dispersing foods are taken, then weakness and loss of yang will result, and the ability to stay warm and vital in the cooler seasons is lost. CALMING AND FOCUSING THE MIND… The Fire element rules the Heart in Chinese Medicine. This, not only, includes the organ itself but also the concept of the Heart as a...

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Sunscreen Don’ts and EWG’s 2017 report!

Posted on May 25, 2017

Sunscreen Don’ts and EWG’s 2017 report! EWG who’s motto is Know Your Environment, Protect Your Health has the most comprehensive list of sunscreen reviews out there.  Their site allows you to plug in what you have at home and they even go the extra mile in reviewing, Best and Worst for kids, which ones have more moisturizer, which is better for sports and so on.  Got questions?  They have answers! Click here for EWG’s 2017 report! Here’s a few additional do’s and don’ts that are important to keep in mind! No spray sunscreens!

  Super-convenient, sure, but they may pose serious risks if inhaled and they make it too easy to apply too little or miss a spot. Super-high SPFs (SPF 50 or higher) are not your friend.

  SPF – sun protection factor – refers only to protection against UVB radiation and has little to do with protecting you from UVA rays – the ones that accelerate skin aging and have been linked to skin cancer. Oxybenzone can mimic estrogen.

  That’s right, estrogen. A number of sunscreens contain the chemical oxybenzone, which penetrates skin, gets into the bloodstream and may act like estrogen in the body! It can also trigger allergic reactions. Retinyl palmitate may harm your skin.

  On sun-exposed skin, the retinyl palmitate found in some sunscreens has been shown to speed development of skin tumors and lesions. Skip sunscreen/bug repellent combos.

  Studies suggest that in some cases chemicals that filter harmful ultraviolet rays can interact with insect repelling chemicals in ways that decrease sunburn protection. Also, if you apply these products every two hours (as you should for proper sun protection!), you may be overexposed to the repellent chemicals. Keep away from sunscreen powders and towelettes.

  Even the FDA’s weak sunscreen rules bar these products! Their level of protection is quite dubious. Seriously – no tanning oils!

 Tanning oils are just a bad idea. They barely – if at all – protect you from the sun. Stay safe in the sun this summer! Christina Martin, L.Ac. Tao to Wellness Acupuncture Inc 510.883.0383 Berkeley, CA...

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