Happy Halloween!!!

If you know me, than you know how much I love Halloween! It can be a fun time to expand out of your comfort zone, or, a spooky time to explore the darker side of who you think you are?   What I enjoy most about Halloween is that it makes no qualms about being something that it’s not, because that what it is all about, being something that your not!

So, I was at my acupuncturist office getting a treatment (yes, of course I have an acupuncturist). AND, I had a thought, “can vampires feel?” (He was doing some aggressive needling), that is, do they actually have physical sensation?  After all, they are considered undead, dead but animate.  So, they can move, think, hunt, have emotions and feed. BUT, one of the key physical descriptions of Vampires is that they are cold to the touch, and, they are also pale.  The other key description is that they must consume blood constantly!

This is very intriguing, from the perspective of Chinese Medicine. When we look at a patient, we don’t categorize them by disease or illness, rather, we look at them from the perspective of a “patterns of disharmony”. By using this terminology, we are framing the patient’s health in such a way we are seeking what is out of harmony, out balance. Which requires looking at all the organs that are in a constant dynamic with one another, because it’s a rare moment in Chinese Medicine that it’s about just one organ.  If the stomach is not functioning, then, it could be because of the it’s dynamic with the liver, or kidneys, or both. 

Now, blood is a special substance in the body because it is both physical and spiritual by nature.  You see, blood and qi are considered married.  As the saying goes, Qi governs blood, and Blood is the mother of Qi.  Which means, that blood houses the qi (amongst a number other places in the body), being one of the vehicles for qi to get around the body.  Qi governing the blood means it is directing the blood where to go, where they are most needed.  But, I digress…….

Vampires need blood, a LOT OF BLOOD! OR, are they actually in need of Qi?  YEEESSSSSSS, now the conversation is getting interesting!   You see, that as blood is pumped through out the body, the Hearth stamps consciousness into the blood, or, as we call it “Shen”.  This is how we theorize the ability of a person being able to feel their toes, because their consciousness or awareness is in their blood even though there maybe nerve damage.  So, there is not only qi/energy in the blood, but consciousness/shen as well! 

If Vampires are the “undead”, then it would stand to reason that it’s not just blood that they need, it’s ENERGY, SHEER LIFE, that they need.  That qi/energy which is infused with Shen/consciousness is more precious than the actual blood.  It is what keeps us (and them) alive.  Qi is necessary for warming and transforming substances in the body.  Qi keeps the bodily functions in motion.  

BUT, one has to wonder, when consuming all that qi and blood what affect will it have on the Vampire’s consciousness?  Will it make them happy, sad, angry, all the above?  I venture to say that each time a Vampire consumes the blood and qi of a person a little part of the consciousness becomes infused. One could speculate they become almost schizophrenic.  How else could we explain a Vampire’s melancholy ways! Their emotions are all over place because they have too many of them from numerous victims!  But, it is fair to assume that their physiology is designed to absorb the shen of others, to some degree.  And, I am also sure there are a few who are allergic to different types of personalities, thus having a difficult time assimilating the shen of that “type” of person.  But, alas, that is a subject for another time.   

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!

 

Reflections from 50yrs of Summer!!!!

Another fun filled amazing summer has passed.  This year was rather auspicious for me because I turned 50!  I waited till now to write about it, to allow some time of reflection  upon what a half century of living has meant for me.  My life has been a gift, good and bad with villains and heroes, drama/trauma and serenity/healing.  What I have learned that matters most are family/friends, your health and time, and none, NONE of it should be taken for granted!

All three of these treasures can disappear in a blink of an eye!  In our youth it is easy to believe that we have plenty of time, our quality of health will endure and that our family and or friends will always be around.  I have been most fortunate to have wonderful people in my life, a good quality of health, and taken time to enjoy life.  

At the half century mark, I feel that these treasures are truly more important than ever.  I suffered a bout of “tennis elbow” in late May (sans the tennis).  THE     MOST    PAINFUL experience of my life (and I have broken several bones).  Not only was my recovery painful (lots of acupuncture, some call it dry needling, but it is also known as the correct terminology direct needling), but, I was not able to keep up with my regular  gym routine  of cardio and weight lifting, yoga class, and my big passion of mountain biking (thank goodness I was still able to keep up with my Tai Chi and Qi Gong practice!).  

After about two months of rehabilitation, I am back in the saddle again (literally, back on my bike that is!), cautiously lifting weights and getting bendy in yoga class.  BUT, what a difference a two month hiatus makes.  I have gained some pounds, lost a lot of my muscle tone and strength! Not to mention the muscle soreness and fatigue from recovery seems a bit more pronounced!

That age old adage is so very true! YOU DON’T USE IT, YOU LOOSE IT!!!

Let’s be clear, I made a commitment at 48 to make sure that when I arrived at 50 I would be in the most excellent of shape! Meaning, I was staying active six days of the week! I can’t imagine  how bad of shape I would be in if I had not fortified my workout routines!    

There is an old saying,”the two major causes of becoming decrepit in old age is the inflexibility of the spine and the clotting of the intestinal track”. A very succinct perspective on the pillars of  physical health in which I agree.  

In Asheville, acupuncture, yoga, and eating farm to table is a fundamental part of life. Living in a community that values such principles is a true gift and delight when working with patients that are in tune with such values.  As well as having friends living a common life style which makes gatherings even more so enjoyable!

Another insight I have gained is that even though I have lived a healthy life style, that does not mean bumps in the road of life don’t come up.  We need to keep a perspective that as we get older, vitality diminishes, we must be diligent in refining diet, exercises (routines, types, and intensity), and life style in general.    And, we must be diligent with self care, routine trips for acupuncture and massage can go a long way when it comes to preventive care.  As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.  

Finally, I would like to address the Morpheus in the room, “time is always against us”, as he once said.  How often have you heard your self say, “wow, the summer just flew by!” “Where does the time go?” I’ll tell you where it goes, the wind! Lost to the ages, off to the land where lost socks and buttons go!  Ever fleeting, time moves on, and quicker as we get older and busier with our lives.  I have found that daily meditation helps clear my mind to slow things down, to be mindful of where I am, what I am doing, and how I am doing it, which allows for me to appreciate any all moments of life.  

With all that said, I am starting a new tradition by reclaiming the concept of the “new years resolution”, with a slight reinvention, the NEW New Years resolution.  The idea is take the new year, my new year, and see how I can make my life better, how it may improve.  SO, my New New Years resolution is to entertain more, have people over to strengthen and deepen my relationships.  I would love to hear how you take on the New New Years Resolution.  Come in and lets have a chat!  

P.S. My mother made the Spider-Man cake!!

Summer Foods for Summer Fun!

Summer Eating with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Asheville Acupuncture

Summer fun has always been equated with summer foods and cooking. In Asheville, we all know the value of eating seasonally. The foods are fresher, which means they are more nutritious; BUT, did you know that eating seasonally is also about helping the body maintain better balance? So many foods that flourish during the summer are ideal for mitigating the seasonal effects of the season. When practicing acupuncture, we are using the lens of nature to understand the innate essence of food and drink, as well as herbs; it’s an important guideline to maintaining a balanced diet as well as a balanced life.

Traditional Chinese medicine lists three categories in which food and herbs are classified by; temperature, flavor and action. Temperature has a range from cold, cool, neutral, warm, and hot. Flavors are sweet, savory, spicy, salty, bitter, and sour. Actions are a wide scope (and are, of course, grounded in Chinese medicine terminology), here are a few examples; clears toxic heat, clears summer heat (there are distinct differences), moves qi, builds blood.

These are some of the major stars for the summer season:

Cucumbers – cool/sweet, moisturizes, cools. Benefits: bladder, spleen, stomach, large intestine, and heart. Can be helpful as a diuretic; drains dampness, clears summer heat and toxins, moistens lungs; relieves acne, conjunctivitis, sore throat, stomach, inflammation,

Tomatoes – cool-cold/sweet/sour. Benefits; heart and liver. Can be helpful to cool and nourish liver, augments the yin fluids, clears heat and cools blood; aids blurred vision, constipation, dry eyes, dizziness, indigestion, itching, mouth sores, nosebleeds.

Squash- cool/sweet, clears heat/summer heat/toxins, disinhibits water, qi mover. Benefits; liver, spleen and bladder. Can be helpful with stopping pain, difficult urination, edema, irritability, thirst.

Sweet Potatoes -warm/sweet, moisturizes, strengthens qi (specifically of the kidney and spleen). Benefits the kidneys, spleen, stomach and bladder. Can be helpful with diarrhea, insufficient lactation, poor appetite, and premature ejaculation.

Eggplant – sweet/cool, cools blood, moves blood, drains dampness. Benefits; large intestine, spleen, stomach and liver. Can be helpful in mitigating bleeding, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, skin disorders with itching,

Corn – (grain) neutral/sweet , nourishes the lungs, heart, spleen, liver, gallbladder and bladder, specifically benefits kidney qi, relaxes the gallbladder qi, drains dampness, tonifies heart, spleen and lung qi.

Mellons (The Queen of Summer fruits!) :

Watermelon – sweet/cold, cools heat, diuretic; benefits the stomach, bladder and heart; augments yin fluids, clears heat from the heart, stomach, bladder, drains damp, relieves summer heat, edema, mouth sores, overheating, inability to urinate, palpitations, thirst; not ideal for those dealing with asthma, stomach bloating/digestion issues (best to consult a practitioner if there are concerns, hmmmm I wonder who you could call?)

Cantaloupe -cool/aromatic/sweet, clears heat, moistens lungs, benefits the lungs, heart, large intestine, small intestine, and bladder. Helpful for constipation, dry cough, fever, scanty urination, and thirst.

Honeydew – sweet/cool/aromatic, moisturizes the lungs, cools heat. Benefits the heart, stomach, lungs, large and small intestines, and bladder. Can help with constipation, dry cough, fever, scanty urination, thirst.

Peaches – sweet/sour, warm, moves blood, feeds juices, nourishes blood, augments yin fluids, moistens lungs and large intestine. Benefits the kidneys, spleen, lungs, stomach, and large intestine. Can help with constipation and dry cough.

Cherries – sweat/slightly sour/warm, moisturizes the kidneys and liver, strengthens middle Jiao, benefits the liver, spleen, stomach, lungs, heart, kidneys and blood. Tonifies the qi of the liver, kidney and spleen. Drains dampness, good for anemia, arthritis, calf pain, dry mouth, dry skin, fatigue, gout, lower back pain, numbness in limbs, palpitations, rheumatism, seminal emissions, vertigo.

Plums – sweet/sour, warm-slightly cool, regulates qi, nourishes blood, clears heat, augments yin fluids, feeds juices. Benefits the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and bladder. Can help with bleeding gums, constipation, fever, indigestion, mouth sores, sore throat, thirst, tongue sores.

To learn more about food as medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Asheville Acupuncture treatments, call 828-225-3161.

You and Your Qi

The Chinese Character of Qi, 氣 (pronounced /CHē/ ) means vital energy, life force. There are numerous qualities of qi in the body with specific functions. The overall functions of qi is movement/transportation, warming and transformation. Depending upon which organ the qi is associated too, will specify it’s unique property. What is most important to understand in the practice of Chinese medicine is that qi is the fundamental working principle to all aspects of this science, from; acupuncture, herbalism, dietary and body work. So, when a patient comes in the practitioner needs to understand the fundamental imbalance of qi in the body. Then, decide which modality will best be able to correct the imbalance.

What I would like to focus on here is how the body maintains overall energy levels. I will be discussing the dynamics of qi in a broad scope to avoid getting too technical. Essentially we derive energy primarily from from air, food and water, which is called Gu Qi (yes it’s a fabulous designer Qi). Which is transformed into Ying Qi, or nutritive Qi. It is used to replenish and nourish our body. We also have a quality of Qi called Yuan Qi, or original source Qi. Yuan Qi is a finite amount of qi that supports organ functions on a fundamental level. When you hear about a 30 yr old rock star that dies suddenly, it is more than likely due to their poor lifestyle of little rest, poor nutrition and too much sex, and drugs. Another way to think of this quality of qi is as a deep reserve that should only be used in case of emergencies, such as illness, extreme survival. With proper rest and nutrition this qi is only sipped upon appropriately. Instead of living like a rockstar staying up late, doing the whole sex, drugs and rock -n- roll thang becoming depleted and dying prematurely.

When a bodily function becomes impaired, it is usually about a qi dynamic that is out of balance. For an example, if the stomach is not breaking down food properly, then it’s qi dynamic with other organs is out of balance. It can be the liver/stomach dynamic, or kidney/stomach dynamic, even the liver/kidney/stomach dynamic. There are circumstances where an organ becomes deficient because due to an overall qi deficiency as well. When these imbalances arise it is usually a result from a life style, diet, and/or genetics. The qi can become stagnant, deficient or other substances (such as blood) in the body are impairing proper qi flow. The time of year, and regional climate are additional factors that can influence how one’s qi is performing.

Because the Chinese have done an amazing job understanding how the spirit, mind and body are interconnected, they see how the qi of the body is affected by on different levels. How fear affects the kidneys, worry consumes the qi of pancreas, or how anger strangles the heart.
It is through careful examination that the practitioner is able to find the breakdown of the qi dynamic. Questions about other bodily functions and life style give insight to how other organs are contributing to the breakdown in the qi dynamic. This is one of the reasons why Chinese medicine is so effective in places where western medicine fails, because the whole body is assessed. Once a proper diagnosis has been made, treatment may proceeded that will energetically support the imbalance.

What is most important to understand is that by addressing proper qi flow we can strengthen the body, reduce inflammation, slow the aging process, improve emotional well being and stability. Have you ever watched a video of Chinese people in the park in the mornings practicing Qi Gong and Tai Chi? Have you ever asked your self, why are they doing a practice that is thousands of years old? I was amazed witnessing this on my first trip to China. Soooo many people practicing many different forms. My favorite was a group of elderly women in matching outfits practicing Tai Chi sword forms (see picture above).

Through the use of regular exercises (Tai Chi/ Qi Gong), consistent acupuncture treatments, and an energetically balanced diet, you can be sure to have strong and vibrant body. I have even witnessed severely debilitated bodies rebound dramatically by fully embracing this life style, with minor changes to their current life. What is important to consider is, what is more important; a) a life that only nourishes your life on one level, or, b) a life style that accounts for you spirit, mind, and body? I have had great success guiding patients through this subtle path of qi dynamics to arrive in a place of greater health and vitality. Through careful guidance and planning on diet, lifestyle choices, and exercises your life can be completely changed into one with joy, ease, and grace.

To Let Your Life Blossom, Let your love Blossom

Asheville Acupuncture

I saw a beer commercial the other week from the 50’s. It was about John, who works hard all week long, at the end of that week he gets to enjoy his well earned leisure time. Fast forward 60 years, such perspective has not changed, if anything the pursuit of leisure time is more prevalent. A definition by Thorsten Veblen states, “leisure, a non-productive consumption of time,”ever so the mind set in these days.

So many of us dream of the “good life,” laying on beaches, toes in the sand, with tiny umbrella cocktails, all the while holding our beloved’s hand (can’t deny that it sounds real nice). The reality of the situation is humans need a purpose, need a passion or goal of some sort (well, most) to get up in morning. There are many studies that show having a purpose in life leads to a healthier, longer life. The barrage of messages from so many avenues selling the idea of leisure time, doing nothing, is paradise.

Even the idea of Heaven has the underlining notion that you get to hangout and do nothing for eternity. I’m not advocating that we all need to be working to our last breath. However, I do believe it is in our nature to cultivate a passion, profession, a cause, or something that makes us better, helps one to evolve to a better version of ourselves.

The irony these days is, even with technological advancements, it is harder and harder to find the time, money and energy to cultivate the self. The focus of life in our culture is to make money, to have things, to go out and have fun (if your fortunate enough, since there are so many just getting by these days). Societal focus on monetary/material possessions will not move society forward.

For humanity to thrive, let alone survive, our focus must shift on personal development. If the economic moral compass remains on the prizing of leisure time and objects of status, strife and resentment towards one another will grow, as well as environmental decline.

To ensure a thriving economy is to invest in people. The true embodiment of yin and yang is about how we develop the self and then share it with the world. The yin is going to school, learning a trade or a profession. The yang is using that skill. When we learn something new, and practice it we grow. Our little world of a box becomes a little smaller. Growing, changing, evolving can be uncomfortable at first. This is how a country grows, by each individual growing, learning, developing. Not by depending on the how well companies turn a profit.

The illusion that the harder I work, the more money I make, the more leisure time I get with the latest toys I can play with during that time will not make anyone happy for long. The proverbial carrot that one day “I too can have a life of leisure” is touted by the idea through reality TV , YouTube, Instagram stars becoming rich for being attractive, or acting like fools. Until that magical day comes, too many of us remain ensnared in this mirage.

We have become captivated into an illusion that there is “A LIFE OF LEISURE” to live. A life that we are living easy, with awesome fabric cleaners, $1 lunch menus, cookouts at the beech full of smiles, smiles, and more smiles. But, this illusion comes with a price tag of working long hours, at a job that is barely tolerable and exhausts our very soul.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”
H. Thoreau.

The gift of life and the burden of having a life are often at odds. I am reminded of the The Talking Heads song;

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may say to your self, “My G-d! What have I done?”

If any of us are fortunate enough to stop in the middle of our daily craziness and reflect upon the what and why of our actions we can break the chains of the illusion of “a life of leisure.” Peering past the illusion that this is how I am suppose to live, and begin to live a life you want. Instead of working long hours at an office job that will only reward you with a warriors weekend at the beach, find your passion. Be a photographer or a baker and share it with the world.

Yes, it will be challenging to transition, but that is what will make you a better person. Not only learning about taking pictures, but how to market your self and network, aspects to this job that you had no idea, will help you grow. You will be breaking the sides of your box, hell, GET RID OF THE BOX ALL TOGETHER!

Stop! Take a look around for some perspective. Take time to reflect for a little self inventory. Then you can see how your life is a gift, and like any gift we must show gratitude. This is what it means to stop and smell the proverbial roses. To take in inspiration, to cultivate the gifts and passions you were blessed with. That rose is your Love. Harvest your love allow your self to blossom. We need more love to blossom in these times

DON’T MISS YOUR LIFE!

Asheville Acupuncture

The Year fo the Earth Dog

The Year of the Earth Dog

In Chinese astrology each zodiac year ( rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig) is not just associated with an animal sign, but also one of five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth…the year of 2018 meets the element of Earth, so 2018 is a Earth  Year. During the Year of the Dog the element of Earth is significantly more prominent because Dog’s nature strongly resonates with the Earth element. For people whose Earth element is predominant in their Chinese life horoscope, a particular stability through the entire year of 2018 should allow them to organize their personal and professional life more confidently and efficiently.

According to the precepts of Wu Xing, or the creative cycle of the 5 elements, Earth creates Metal. In order to gain joyful fulfillment throughout the year, it’s auspicious to show solidarity and brotherhood, so that the noble and vigorous righteousness of the Earth Dog is converted into material and spiritual wealth.
Dog Years are not conducive to waste and unnecessary expenses. For success, in love as in work, depends primarily on the quality of the communication between people, and learning that being selfless and generous can bring the promise of a more generous reward in return.

Even though the Year of the Earth Dog can be very good for financial aspects, but from a health point of view, can be precarious. Actually, in the year of the dog, all zodiac signs will want to pay special attention to their health. 2018 is an ideal time to start eating healthy, doing sports and getting rid of bad habits. Have a great year, and remember stay Chi-ful!

Love is Self

Love is Self

Poems, songs, plays, stories of old speak of love as a wonderful, mysterious, elusive feeling that comes once in a lifetime when we find that special person or when we find passion in a skill or work that feeds our soul. Such imagery leaves one with lofty dreams that are dependent upon the kindness of a serendipitous moment that may or may not ever happen. Until then, are we left to believe that our lives are only to be filled with mediocrity with a general feeling of MEH?

Lies, terrible terrible lies! Such beliefs that have kept us living life under a horrible misconception that love is a emotion, which can only manifest in the presence others and/or under special circumstance, and, only if we are deemed worthy. It is vital that we understand that people, nor circumstance evoke love, because love is always present, it is your natural state of being.

Love is not a gift, nor a blessing, it is not an emotion, it is our natural state, or better, the foundation of our being. It is the source in which all emotions are built upon and emanate from. When we “feel” love, it is our natural state emanating. The mismanagement of emotions will either strengthen or diminish that feeling of “love”. Anger, fear, worry, grief, jealousy, will take us away from out natural state. Benevolence, courage, empathy, reverence, and joy will deepen our awareness to our natural state of being. When we fall in “love” with some one, it is usually misinterpreted for the emotions of joy and/or lust. True “love” is the allowance to be at complete ease, allowing our true sense of self to arise and shine, in the presence of another, without worry, fear, or any other emotional trigger that would diminish our true sense of being. Consider this, how many times someone tells you how great you look when you are “in love” with someone, or how you notice people noticing you more, even flirting more with you. It’s because the essential, real, you, you is actually shining! When an artist is playing an instrument or waving a brush they are tapping into their natural state, cultivating their essence and expressing it at the same time.

The concept of self love must be understood in a radically different way. Self love must been conceived as self acknowledgement, truly understanding who you are, peeling back the emotional layers of your being and life. We must remember we are not our house, our clothes, our status or jobs, nor are we are feelings or preferences. These are all part of the human costume we don through life, to experience life. When we die all these aspects of being human cease to exist. Such things and feelings are used all but to often on how we define our selves, which in turn define our lives, which in turn affirm how we define of selves (funny little circle we create).

Emotions, such as inadequacy, jealousy, envy, anger, resentment, etc will rule the roosts if not tempered. Dwelling in such a quagmire of feelings is painful, draining, and debilitating. It would only be natural to be guided to comfort such long standing emotional turmoil, wounds, through food, sex, substances, shoes, materialistic gains, or drive through status, power over others, lashing out, etc..Through mindfulness/ stillness meditation, sitting, breathing clearing the mind, connecting to deepest aspect of one’s being, we are then able to be aware of true self, surpassing through the emotional body, grounding awareness in one’s spirit. This is where freedom arises, we can be intentional towards circumstances and others, instead of having knee jerk reactions. Which always take us off balance, from center, away from true state of being.

-Kyle Chapin-

http://www.examiner.com/article/new-scientific-study-links-tai-chi-to-anti-aging-and-longevity

I have been practicing Tai Chi since 1988.  It has been the most life changing practice I have experienced.  Without doubt, it has given me many gifts of health; body , mind , and spirit.  I have also found it supportive of other physical and spiritual practices like running, yoga and simple sitting meditation. I took the picture above when I first visited China.  Eevery morning you will see groups and individuals practicing their tai chi and/or  qi gong forms in the squate athe the center of town.  It’s a way of life that I know all too well.  I practice every morning, it’s my cup of coffee, to get going and centering for the day.  Now, modern science has given another stamp of approval on how beneficial this practice can be for anyone.

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/new-scientific-study-links-tai-chi-to-anti-aging-and-longevity