Storytime with Jack Kornfield

From Soul Food by Jack Kornfield

Extraordinary Possibilities and the Greatness of the Heart.

It happened just a few years ago to two young children in a family from Illinois. The eight year old daughter became ill and was diagnosed with a life threatening blood disease. A search went out to find a donor of blood compatible with her own. As she weakened, they looked and no donor could be found. Then it was discovered that her six year old brother shared her rare blood type. The mother and their minister and doctor all sat down with the boy to ask if he would be willing to donate his blood to same the life of his sister.

Much to their surprise, he did not answer right away. He wanted some time to think about it. Six year olds can be quite thoughtful at times. After a few days he went to his mother and said, “Yes, I’ll do it!”

The following day the doctor brought both children to his clinic and placed them on cots next to each other. He wanted them to see how one was helping the other. First, he drew a half pint of blood from the young boy’s arm, Then he moved it over to his sister’s cot and inserted the needle so her brother could see the effect. In a few minutes, color began to pour back into her cheeks.

Then the boy motioned for the doctor to come over. He wanted to ask a question, very quietly.

“Will I start to die right away?” he asked.

You see, when he had been asked to donate his blood to save the life of his sister, his six year old mind understood the process literally. That’s why he needed a few days to think about it.

And then he simply gave what is in the heart of every human being to give when we are truly connected.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Play the Gratitude Gab Game!

“Gratitude Gab” – This game is guaranteed to get your guests talking!

For the guests that have more to say than just, “I am grateful for food”, this is the perfect game! Get a jar or bowl and have a few questions or topics on folded pieces of colored or festive paper. As the meal progresses, have everyone pass around the jar and take turns pulling out a piece of paper and answer the question or sharing the experience the paper asks. Instead of just saying one thing they are grateful for and moving on, these questions will provide conversations and stories that will enrich the lives of those present, deepen you feelings of gratitude, and nourish the heart while you feed your body! I have included a few sample questions below, feel free to use these or come up with your own.

•  Describe something lucky that happened to you last year and how your life improved.
•  Describe a peak experience from the year, what made it special, and why you are grateful for it.
•  Describe a special favor you received, how it helped you, and how it touched you.
•  Describe a special gift or talent you have, how you use it, and why you are grateful for it.
•  Name someone you know who makes your life better and why.
•  Think of something you used today that other people make take for granted.
•  What do you appreciate the most about the person sitting next to you?
•  Describe something you are particularly grateful for in your life and why.
•  Describe something that you do often that makes you happy and why.
•  Describe something that happened this past week that you are grateful for and why.
•  Describe something you have done that you are particularly proud of and why.

Have a wonderful, special day with your family and friends!

Much love,

Christina “Mei Wen” Martin, L.Ac., Dipl.AC, MTOM, FABORM.

christina@berkeley-acupuncture.com

Christina Martin is the founder of Tao to Wellness. She is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Teacher and has been in practice for fifteen years.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine.  Christina entered Acupuncture school without ever having an Acupuncture treatment. She simply felt it was her calling.

A Real Life Patient Spotlight: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Acupuncture

Monica is a videographer and she mostly shoots documentaries.  Her latest project is shooting the homeless and drug users of the Tenderloin in San Francisco, this means she is up at ALL hours.  True, her fatigue set in way before this project, but the project is certainly making it worse.

Monica has experienced fatigue for years now.  She wakes up bone tired and unmotivated and when nightfall comes, she actually perks up and can’t fall asleep until 1am.  The first thing we did for Monica was run an Adrenal Stress Index.  I wanted to see what her cortisol’s circadian rhythm was doing.  Cortisol should be high in the AM hours and at it’s lowest in the middle of the night.  If patients are having trouble waking or sleeping, this is a place we look first. Sure enough, cortisol was one part of the problem, her levels were sky high at night, no wonder she couldn’t sleep.  The other issue, that was working in the background was, her resources were exhausted.  We needed to strengthen her system and fill her resources from the inside out.  When a patient is experiencing fatigue it’s like their system is deficient, sort of like a bank account.  We need to bring them up out of the red, to zero and then beyond.  Depending on the severity of the situation, it can certainly take some time.  We supplemented her accordingly and gave her Chinese herbs, she also received acupuncture twice a week to start and in two weeks she went down to once a week for four sessions.  Right from the beginning, she slept like a champ the night OF her acupuncture session, so that tells us she was responding but her body wasn’t able to hold on to the session that long.  With every two sessions, she gained another night of sleep.  When four weeks passed, she was sleeping throughout the night and we were able to put her on a conditioning protocol of acupuncture every two weeks.  Because she finally managed to sleep, we were able to put ‘resources’ back into her body and her energy came up to a normal level.

Sleep is one of those things in Chinese medicine that we take very seriously.  We believe eight hours of sleep revitalizes ones righteous Qi from the inside out and waters longevity to a good healthy life.

Much love, 

Christina “Mei Wen” Martin, L.Ac., Dipl.AC, MTOM, FABORM.

christina@berkeley-acupuncture.com

Christina Martin is the founder of Tao to Wellness. She is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Teacher and has been in practice for fifteen years.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine.  Christina entered Acupuncture school without ever having an Acupuncture treatment. She simply felt it was her calling.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Recipe

Gluten Free Pumpkin Gingerbread

Another easy and healthy Thanksgiving treat!

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

– Mix dry ingredients together

½ cup coconut oil

2/3 cup agave nectar

¼ cup molasses

2/3 cup rice milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin pureee

¾ cup hot water

– Combine wet ingredients, and mix with dry until batter is smooth

– With a spatula, fold in the pumpkin puree and hot water

– Bake at 325° in oiled loaf pan for 40 minutes

5 Tools to Surviving the Holidays!

5 Tools to Surviving the Holidays!

The holidays are a joyous time full of family, friends and loved ones. The same people that just may drive you nuts! There’s the rushing around, excessive buying, excessive eating, excessive everything!  Needless to say, things can get hectic.  So, let’s turn the volume down from 11 and simplify things… here are 5 tools you can use to recharge, revitalize and rejuvenate so you can be your best self.

Exercise! Exercise creates happy endorphins, it moves stagnate energy (Qi), assists in digestion, improves circulation and regulates hormone and brain chemistry. Go for fast walk, pull up a YouTube exercise video on your laptop, check out a local yoga or kickboxing class. OR jump online and see what gyms are nearby, most of them (like 24 hour fitness or NYSC) have a 5 day free gym pass, use the ‘rents address and you’re all set! Five glorious days of you and a kettle bell

Take a bath (and add Epsom salts)! Some people LOVE baths! I’m not one of them, but I totally understand why; dim lights, candles, hot water, maybe Spotify some Joshua Radin or just Spa Radio? You can also add some Epsom salts that you can purchase at ANY drug store; Walgreens, Duane Reade, CVS, Rite Aid. Don’t be shy, pour it in… at least a few cups! The Epsom salt acts as a natural detoxifier and regulates the lymph system, this is great any time but especially with the excessive drinking and eating that come with the holidays. Calgon take you away!

Meditate!  Meditation is purely a fancy word for sitting quietly, breathing deeply and clearing the mind. Many, many of us have trouble staying focused, here’s a great little helper to get a sense of how slow and deep you should be breathing. http://beamindful.com/2014/12/01/visual-breathing-exercise/ Shoot for 20 minutes, if that’s too much, shoot for 10 minutes, but certainly at least 5!

Take a nap! Who doesn’t love naps? Even if you’re not exactly tired you can just go lie down for 30 minutes, who knows maybe you’ll fall asleep and if you don’t, you can always resort to #3.

Ask yourself, “What is it that I need right now?” I’m a firm believer that everyone has the answers, sometimes these answers live deep down inside, but they are there! Just ask and maybe you’ll be surprised what comes up… maybe it’s a nap, maybe it’s one hour of “The Real Housewives” or maybe it’s a shot of wheatgrass (or whiskey!) or maybe a slice of warm apple pie. Go for it, whatever it is, just do it!

You might be thinking, “Am I being selfish?”  Nope. Think of it this way, whether you’re being selfish or selfless, it’s still all about you!  So, why not pace yourself so you can be in a better state of mind to be amazing for your family and friends. Does this make you a ‘bad’ person? Nope, not one bit, when we take care of ourselves, we are silently inspiring others to do the same. Last year, one patient who took my advice later said, “I went to take a nap and it seemed like everyone was grateful to pull back, take a break and do their own thing. It made the rest of the day smoother!”

Happy holidays everyone and may the force be with you!

Christina Martin, L.Ac.,Dipl.Ac., FABORM

Fudgy Avocado Brownies… OMG!

Fudgy Avocado Brownies… OMG!

Try this healthy recipe that includes avocado and medjool dates!


INGREDIENTS ✨
12 medjool dates (pits removed and soaked for at least 30 minutes)
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup nuts
1 cup chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS ✨
In a food processor, combine all the ingredients until smooth.
Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Make sure you leave room sticking out the sides.
Spoon the mixture into the baking dish. The batter will be VERY thick. You may need to wet the spatula a little to help spread it.
Place in the fridge to set. This can take several hours. If you want to speed up the process, you can place it in the freezer for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

Castor Oil Packs… what are they all about?

Castor Oil Packs

If you grew up in the 70’s you might recall your mother giving you a tablespoon for constipation, but it’s also antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, it can even be applied topically to treat a variety of skin issues. It increases blood circulation, improves lymphatic drainage, strengthens the immune system and releases trapped toxins in the body.

  • Constipation (1 Tablespoon)
  • Increases circulation in the female reproductive tract and boosts fertility.
  • Reduces or prevents ovarian cysts and fibroid tumors
  • Reduces arthritic conditions like gout, rheumatoid arthritis and osteo arthritis.
  • To support a detoxification program

Consuming castor oil can be dangerous, for example, some swear by the remedy of castor oil and eggs to induce labor. The bad news is if you don’t go into labor, you end up with explosive diarrhea which can leave you exhausted and depleted, which is not a great state to be in when the labor finally happens.

Castor oil packs can be warming, nourishing and highly beneficial.   And here’s how to do them… 

Castor Oil Pack instructions:

Materials

  • Three layers of undyed wool or cotton flannel large enough to cover the affected area
  • Castor oil
  • Plastic wrap or saran wrap cut 1-2″ larger than the flannel (can be cut from a plastic bag)
  • Hot water bottle or heating pad.
  • Container with lid
  • Old clothes and sheets. Castor oil will stain clothing and bedding.

Method

1. Place the flannel in the container. Soak it in castor oil so that it is saturated, but not dripping.
2. Place the pack over the affected body part.
3. Cover with plastic.
4. Place the hot water bottle or heating pad over the pack. Leave it on for 45-60 minutes. Rest while the pack is in place.
5. After removing the pack, cleanse the area with a dilute solution of water and baking soda.
6. Store the pack in the covered container in the refrigerator. Each pack may be reused up to 25-30 times.

Frequency of use

It is generally recommended that a castor oil pack be used for 3 to 7 days in a week to treat a health condition or for detox.

13 Ways Acupuncture Can Change Your Life

1. It will open your mind.

Acupuncture requires us to think about health in entirely new ways. In this day and age, we are heavily influenced and encouraged to put all of our faith in Western Medicine, a system that is more reaction based than preventative based. The concepts of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is foreign to many, yet with a little explanation and experience, these ancient healing practices begin to make a lot of sense.

2. It will make you less stressed.

Acupuncture takes the edge off.  Lets face it. We could all use less stress. Most of us are so wound up so tight, that we do not realized just how incredibly stressed we are! By mellowing out the nervous system, acupuncture will help you feel less affected by and better equipped to manage the stressful aspects of life.

3. It will inspire you to get outside more.

Things like weather and seasonal shifts factor significantly into acupuncture diagnoses and treatment plans. When you start thinking about health in this way, realizing the intimate relationship that humans have with nature, it inspires a desire to get outside and commune with your natural habitat. All parts of life are deeply connected.

4. It will give you more energy.

Although it’s common to find yourself in a somewhat dazed, blissfully relaxed state—immediately following acupuncture treatment, the after effect is usually increased energy. Many people report having more energy in the hours, days and even weeks after acupuncture treatment. You can’t put a price on that! Forget the Energy drinks, boost and shots…there is no comparison between toxic man made energy and real energy itself.

5. It will clear your head.

Many people notice improved mental clarity after acupuncture. They’re able to make decisions faster, with greater confidence. They feel more motivated and resolute about tackling items that have been lingering for months on their to-do lists. It’s as if the mental cobwebs have been cleared out. And just like that, life becomes much easier.

6. It will allow you to give yourself a break.

Something we all very much need. Just the act of laying down for an hour in a cozy room listening to soft music can relax all aspects of your body and mind. Throw in the deeper relaxation aspects of the Acupuncture treatment itself and you will find yourself on a mini healing retreat.

7. It will help you sleep.

Insomnia is one of the most common complaints seen by acupuncturists, and acupuncture can be highly effective at resolving it. But even in people who do not recognize or mention sleep as a problem, acupuncture has a tendency to produce more restful nights.

8. It will get you thinking differently about food.

Whether you’re Paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, or free of any restrictions, acupuncture will lend some interesting perspective to your food choices. In acupuncture, foods often are thought about in terms of temperature. Some people, because of their constitutions or root imbalances, need warming foods while others need foods that cool. And this can change significantly based on the seasons. Everyone is different. Acupuncture dietary theory sheds light on why some people can eat certain foods and feel unaffected while others can’t even look in their direction.

9. It will give you something to talk about at parties.

Move past that awkward moment where everyone is standing around uncomfortable, unsure of what to say…Mention that you’ve recently had Acupuncture and the conversation will take off! People love hearing firsthand accounts about Acupuncture. Did it hurt? How big are the Needles? Did you cry? Do they put like a hundred of them in you?! Keep in mind that you are also giving them the gift of your experience. You are helping normalize a healing practice that everyone can benefit from.

Much love,

Amanda Self

Amanda Self  wears a variety of hats at Tao To Wellness. From Social Media to Medical Billing, she brings healing energy to all that she touches. Amanda is a Reiki Master, a jeweler and is currently studying Herbalism, both in the classroom and out in the fields.

http://www.hawaiihealthguide.com/healthtalk/display.htm?id=955

Accidental Meditation: You are already doing it! (Berkeley-Acpuncture)

Accidental Meditation: You are already doing it!

Beginning a new year always brings a desire for change & creating ourselves anew. Exercising, eating well and putting down old habits usually always top the list of New Year’s Resolutions. Beginning a meditation practice is often on those long list of new habits we would love to adopt. It’s typically one of the last practices that we get to due to our busy lifestyles and a very common theme of just not having enough time.

Great news! You will be pleased to know that you may already have a strong meditation practice in place.  open_mind

You know that feeling when you are taking a shower, and the warm water pours over your body, and you forget what you were rushing to get ready for? Time disappears for a moment, and when you step out of the shower you snap out of it. Maybe you’ve driven down a long empty road with no traffic, and suddenly you’ve hit the next town. This feeling of time lapsing and your thoughts flowing freely happens all the time: on walks or runs, in the moments before you fall asleep, when you are staring out a bus window, or daydreaming in a waiting room.

When accidental meditations happen, the left brain is occupied with a repetitive task that’s familiar enough that it doesn’t require a full engagement. Showering, walking, or figuring out where to put your foot in a yoga class can give your analytical left brain something to do, which frees up the right brain to have a physical, present-moment experience. Even forms of classical meditation, like repeating a mantra over and over in your mind, are essentially techniques for occupying your left brain so that you can slip into a different state.

Read more…

Much love,

Amanda

Amanda Self wears a variety of hats at Tao To Wellness. From Social Media to Medical Billing, she brings healing energy to all that she touches. Amanda is a Reiki Master, a jeweler and is currently studying Herbalism, both in the classroom and out in the fields.

http://spiritualityhealth.com/blog/jc-peters/accidental-meditation-youre-already-doing-it

Men, Low Sperm Count and Acupuncture… (Berkeley Acupuncture)

An excerpt from a London lifestyle magazine.

London – Ciaran Hannington and his wife Jennifer had been trying for a baby for a year without success, so decided to go to their GP for help. They were expecting to be told the problem was due to Jennifer having polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition associated with abnormal hormone levels that can affect fertility.

However, just to be on the safe side, the GP said they would also carry out tests on Ciaran.

‘I remember being told there wouldn’t be any problems,’ says Ciaran, a 27-year-old trainee teacher who lives with Jennifer, a health visitor who is also 27, near Milton Keynes, Bucks.

In fact, Ciaran’s sperm count was so low he was told he was subfertile.

‘I don’t think it really sank in at that point,’ says Ciaran. ‘I just said: “Right then, OK.” It was only later that I sat down and thought about it and realised the severity of the situation. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve cried over it. And I have wondered if I will ever be a dad. It’s difficult because there are things that can be done for Jennifer’s condition, but nothing that can be done for me.’

Since learning about his fertility problems last year, Ciaran has undergone a series of checks, including gene tests to discover why his sperm count is so low.

‘They couldn’t find a reason and have said it’s just one of those things,’ says Ciaran. ‘It does seem strange because I come from a big family – I’m from a family of four, and my mum and dad come from reasonably big families, too.

London – Ciaran Hannington and his wife Jennifer had been trying for a baby for a year without success, so decided to go to their GP for help. They were expecting to be told the problem was due to Jennifer having polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition associated with abnormal hormone levels that can affect fertility.

However, just to be on the safe side, the GP said they would also carry out tests on Ciaran.

‘I remember being told there wouldn’t be any problems,’ says Ciaran, a 27-year-old trainee teacher who lives with Jennifer, a health visitor who is also 27, near Milton Keynes, Bucks.

In fact, Ciaran’s sperm count was so low he was told he was subfertile.

‘I don’t think it really sank in at that point,’ says Ciaran. ‘I just said: “Right then, OK.” It was only later that I sat down and thought about it and realised the severity of the situation. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve cried over it. And I have wondered if I will ever be a dad. It’s difficult because there are things that can be done for Jennifer’s condition, but nothing that can be done for me.’

Since learning about his fertility problems last year, Ciaran has undergone a series of checks, including gene tests to discover why his sperm count is so low.

‘They couldn’t find a reason and have said it’s just one of those things,’ says Ciaran. ‘It does seem strange because I come from a big family – I’m from a family of four, and my mum and dad come from reasonably big families, too.  (Read more)

A lot of times, men in Ciaran’s position try to figure out what contributed to their low sperm counts… food, wine, recreational drugs, mountain biking?  The truth is… it doesn’t matter.  We can do a full Chinese medicine intake at Tao to Wellness and start treating the problem NOW!  With Chinese medicine, we can use different points and herbs to affect sperm count, motility and morphology depending on what the problem is.  We also have different lifestyle, diet and supplement recommendations.  True, it takes time… much like women, a man’s sperm takes about 88 days to mature in the epidydemis so the sooner we get started the better.

Christina “Mei Wen” Martin, L.Ac., Dipl.AC, MTOM, FABORM.

christina@berkeley-acupuncture.com

Christina Martin is the founder of Tao to Wellness. She is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Teacher and has been in practice for over fifteen years.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is California state licensed and a nationally certified Diplomat of Acupuncture.  She is also a Fellow of the American Board of Reproductive Oriental Medicine.