Preparing for a parasite cleanse

There is a myth about parasites that you only get them if you travel to third world countries.  In my experience this is not true. Most people have parasites and most people would feel the benefit of doing a parasite cleanse.  There are many parasite cleanses out there. I recommend taking herbs called Support the Mountain by Dr. Mikio Sankey, that are formulated to kill parasites and their eggs.   

It can be beneficial to plan out a cleanse.  Here’s what I recommend:

Timeline:

If you have or had pets at any point in your life and are in a position to maintain a clean diet for 3 months, I would do an initial 3 month cleanse that would consist of a clean diet and herbs.

If you are not in a position to do it for 3 months, you can do a shorter cleanse, but I recommend at least a month.

If you’re on a spiritual path doing an initial 3 month parasite cleanse followed by a yearly shorter cleanse could be beneficial.

Getting Ready:

Before you start the herbs you will want to transition off alcohol, meat and dairy.  If you consume these things frequently, then I would have at least one week free of them prior of starting the herbs.  If you have excess heat in your system you may want to cut out coffee and possibly cut down heating spices/foods such as garlic, ginger, onions, etc.  You want to plan to start during a week that is lowkey. As in, don’t start a parasite cleanse the week of a stressful work or family event, etc. Plan it for when you think you’ll have time to rest if needed. 

A parasite cleanse stimulates the liver and detoxing effects.  Because of this, you may get headaches, be irritable, tired, foggy headedness and achy as the body starts purging toxins as well as orients to the vibration of the herbs and diet changes.

During the Cleanse:

To start the cleanse you will maintain a light diet free (or little) of meat, dairy, sugar and alcohol. These substances create a lot of damp and heat in the body. The herbs are very strong and quick energy movers.   When there is excess damp heat in the body the effect from the herbs is not pleasant and most people feel worse detox effects.

You start by taking 1 herb capsule 2 times a day between meals and after a few days, if you feel fine, increase to 2 herbs 2 times a day. If you are doing one month, keep this dosage until the bottle is finished, which should be about a month.  If you are doing a more thorough cleanse, continue taking the herbs between meals, completing up to 3 bottles (about 3 months worth).

During the cleanse you may find parasites exiting your body.  This is usually done through the bowels.  

Parasite cleanses aren’t appropriate for everyone.  If you’re interested in doing on, let’s chat!

Healing Obstacles

Healing starts with removing obstacles. The greatest obstacles being inside our body and mind.

Healing is creating change needed to remove blocks. Anything that is blocked is not whole. Healing is the natural desire to move towards wholeness. 

When we align ourselves with our Heart we intuitively know what our purpose is and our healing path is illuminated. When we know where we are going, then it is just a matter of discovering how to get there.  That process begins with removing obstacles. 

In Chinese medicine there is a saying that the Hun must follow the Shen.  The Hun is the spirit of the liver. In 5 element system the liver is like the General. It’s the visionary, the function in us that makes plans, judgements, assessments and determines the course of action to move forward and accomplish our goals.  It is structure and facilitator.  It is that energy in us that has a sense of the right way to live for ourselves (and often others).  The energetic is the expression of frustration and anger. 

The Shen is the spirit of the Heart.  In 5 element theory, the Shen is the emperor, the center, the Sun.  It is the energy of higher and lower frequencies of love and joy.  When the Shen is awakened we have access to our Higher Heart, a very fine energy/information field.  When a sense of order comes through us, we find the elements begin to relate to one another in a more coherent and integrated way.  As the Heart frequencies strengthen, the lower frequencies of Earth, Water, Metal and Wood bow down and begin to entrain to higher aspects/vibrations. 

Obstacles are simply energies that are denser than our desired state of being. We remove them by raising our vibration, and there are many ways to do that. Here are a few ideas:

  • There is no exercise that will make up for poor eating. You cannot simply burn it off.  A diet of poor foods creates mucus in the body which creates blocks.  Keeping your diet simple, eating organic fruits and raw or lightly steamed veggies in combinations that are few, help empower the body to resolve mucus and eliminate toxins. 
  • Everything is in resonance.  When we are lonely, depressed, in grief, in anger.  When we feel isolated, in pain, or misunderstood. We are experiencing a vibration. Be curious about it. Spend a few minutes tuning into it, listening, perhaps having an inner dialogue with this part of you. Hold yourself gently with your mind as you do this.  Then move your body. Change your scene.  Listen to upbeat music.  Change your vibration. The combination of tuning in with loving kindness and curiosity, and then intentionally uplifting your vibration is much like a mother consoling a child after the fall off their bike.  If there is too much dwelling on the pain from the fall it can smash out the courage to try again.  If there is too little attending to the pain it can smash out our natural humanness.  If we tend to ourselves with just the right amount of both- love/tenderness and strength/discipline to make a change – then we find one level of the meaning Hun Follow the Shen.

This process of refining ones energy to a higher vibration is spontaneous yet effortful. It takes focus, yet arises from nothing.  We can sabotage it with our actions, yet the reason for doing has a lot of wisdom in it. We can only be where we are, we can only take action from what is experienced in this moment.  As the Zen saying goes, chop wood, carry water.

7 Day Simple Liver/Gallbladder Cleanse

Here is a simple 7 day Liver/Gallbladder cleanse.  Even if you maintain a relatively clean diet, cleanses are beneficial to do a few times a year to help keep the body optimized.  For those on a spiritual path cleansing the body is an essential aspect of transforming consciousness.  Regardless of your motive, it is helpful to keep in mind that many things, subtle and not so subtle occur during a cleanse.  This cleanse is simple but it moves a lot of energy, so good to plan out and do it a week you don’t have a lot of obligations and can take some quiet time.  Cleansing is always an opportunity to go deeper into our spiritual heart center, which of course is hard to do when we have a lot of things demanding our attention look outwards instead of inwards.

Plan for 7 days. On the 7th day you will need to stay home, with easy access to a toilet,  so be sure to run all errands, etc. before.

During this cleanse the only thing you need to really stay away from is dairy.  Though I also recommend no alcohol, and if you eat meat, to choose lighter meats, such as fish/chicken vs. beef.  You might find that nut butters are also too heavy.

Day 1 – 5:  Take 1 malic acid w/ mag tablet 3 times a day.  

 

Day 6:  On day 6 mix 4 TBSP of Epsom salt with 3 cups of hot water. Dissolve the salt. You’ll be splitting this into 4 doses. Between 4-6pm take 1 dose of the Epsom salt mixture. I recommend drinking it quickly.  You’ll want to stay home after this first dose as you’ll  may have urgent bowel movements. 

At 8pm take the second dose.

Still on day 6 – at 10 pm mix ½ cup of the highest quality First Cold Press Extra Virgin olive oil you can afford. With ½ cup of citrus – lemon or grapefruit is ideal.

Day 7:  First thing in the morning take another Epsom salt dose.  2 hours later take the last (4th) dose. Stay home, take it easy. 

In this cleanse the malic acid softens any gallstones you may have, and the magnesium stimulates the colon to release it.  This energetically cleanses the wood element allowing for stagnation to be released and energy to move through its natural cycle with more ease.

Beating Sick Season

It’s pretty common for what we consider flu season to start right around Halloween and go through New Years, with another little flare of it around Valentines day.  From a holistic perspective we can’t ignore the increase of sugar intake and stress during these months. 

Sugar creates a damp inflammatory environment in our body. Parasites and yeast thrive in damp environments and can have a dramatic effect on our physical and mental wellbeing, creating the stage for disease, mental fog and emotional instability.  Knowing a season of sugar and stress are soon approaching, you may choose to do a cleanse before and after the holidays.  This helps stimulate the immune system and can help make it easier to make healthful and conscious choices through the holiday season. 

A few things you can do to support detox (in addition to cutting out or down on processed foods and alcohol):

1.  Drink hot water with lemon in the morning and throughout the day.

2.  Support the liver with either herbs or teas.  Nettle and milk thistle are great teas to be having this time of year.   I also recommend Bairn Biologics Liver supplement that is a nice botanical blend to help tonify the liver.

4.  Support the kidneys.  Bitter flavors such as Celery and Burdock help cut dampness in the body and tonifies the kidneys.  I recommend either juicing these, or a tincture by Herb Pharm called Stone Breaker.

5.  Support bowl movements.  A healthy gut has a bowl movement with every meal.  If you’re getting enough fiber in your diet through whole grains and vegetables and are still having constipation, you may want to add magnesium supplement to your routine.  Magnesium helps calm the nervous system, improve digestion, relaxation and sleep.

5.  If you have an overgrowth of yeast a supplement can be used to treat it. I recommend Candisol by Bairn.

6. If you have parasites (if you have pets, you do.)  Herbs can be used to get rid of them.  You want to use a blend that will kill the grown parasites as well as the egg sacks. I recommend Dr. Mikio Sankey's Support the Mountain.

7.  A probiotic is always good to keep up a strong healthy gut.  Not all probiotics (or supplements for that matter) are created equal.  Again, I recommend Bairn Biologics, specifically the 15/100, which offers 15 strains and 100 billion cultures per capsule. 

8.  If you have a sugar craving use organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses and raw, unheated honey.

*A note about supplements.  High quality supplements are made of natural, organic ingredients.  How they are stored will have an effect on them and can alter their potency.  It's always best to get your supplements from a trusted source.

Foundation for vitality:

1. Eat healthy foods.  Nothing replaces fresh organic, whole foods.

2. Eat raw greens. Raw foods give us enzymes, which help our gut be healthy and improve our immune system.  If you have digestive pain when eating raw foods it’s a sign the digestive track is compromised in some way and it would be beneficial to tonify your digestive fire first.

3.  Move your body. Moving helps blood and lymph move through the body cleansing and nourishing the tissues.  Even if it’s doing stretches and short walks, throughout the week, it will help your body get rid of toxin buildup.

4.  Breath.  In Chinese medicine the lungs and colon are siblings, they are the yin and yang of the Metal element, which is a dominant energy in nature this time of year.  Together they work with the kidneys and liver to release toxins.  Most of us are shallow breathers. Our lives are stressful and we’re constantly on the go.  If we get in the practice of breathing mindfully a few minutes each day we cue our body to release what it no longer needs.

And of course there is meditation, immersing yourself in nature when you can, fill your senses with things that are pleasing and uplifting to you, and support healthy sleep habits. 

Fire & Metal: Yuji (Fish Pond) to Fish Pose.

Yuji, is the name of the 10th acupuncture point on the lung meridian. It is located on the fleshy part of the palm at the base of the thumb.  It translates as Fish Pond and energetically draws fire energy into the lung meridian, which moves metal energy.  The relationship between fire and metal is part of what is called the Ko cycle, or control cycle.  The control cycle reflects how specific energies temper other frequencies, in this case how fire energy can control metal energy by warming or melting it.

As we look to the organs that resonate fire and metal frequencies we find the yin aspects of each in the chest:  Lungs (yin metal) and Heart/pericardium (yin fire).  Balance is often thought of as equal parts, but if we look at the yin/yang symbol we may come to understand balance, at least in the living, requires more yang than yin energy.  Life is expansion/yang.

When people are expanding their consciousness I see their lung field unifies with the heart field to allow for openness as the energy is flowing in and out of the center of the chest easily.  In a moment of contraction the heart field closes and other frequencies come forward, sometimes the kidneys (water/fear) or the lungs (metal/grief) or the liver (wood/frustration).  When we do our inner work, the lung energy remains integrated with heart even when there is contraction.

If we are mindful we may notice in our bodies when these subtle shifts occur.  One pose to help temper the metal energy of the lungs and ultimately unify them with the fire of the heart is called Matsyasana, or Fish Pose. 

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Matsyasana
1-2 minutes
Props:  2 blocks, 3-5 blankets or 1 bolster.

 

· Come to lie on your back, relax the spine into the floor. Take a deep breath in through the nose, close your eyes and exhale. Repeat 3 times or as many as desired. Breathing deep into the backside of the ribcage.

· Place one block horizontally, on the lowest height, under your shoulder blades, behind the heart.

· Place the second block behind the head, vertically on medium height.

· If using blankets, fold into a thick (5- 10 inches in height) rectangle and place vertically on the ground near your tailbone. Relax back over the blankets, relaxing your shoulders and soften your neck.

Pay attention to your neck. The intention is create length and openness, so notice any compression, tension, or crunching. Keeping a soft and strain free posture that opens through the neck and chest.

Cooling Yoga

Overheated? These postures will be your new best friends. Not only are you creating length within your muscular structure, which may be the first aspect you notice – you are also improving your circulatory, digestive, and immune systems. These systems are associated with the cooling parasympathetic branch of the nervous system (our rest, digest, and heal cycle) and is our body’s natural way to process and release stress hormones. However, with summer temperatures our bodies may need a little extra help to reduce internal heat. Prasarita Padottanasana and Supta Matsyendrasana both create a cooling affect in they body by releasing heat and tension within the abdomen and along the spine. Leaving you feeling refreshed, balanced, and few degrees cooler.

 

Prasarita Padottanasana (Standing Wide Legged Forward Fold)

  • From standing, side step about one leg’s distance so that your feet are parallel to one another.
  • Rotate your toes slightly inward towards each other. Pressing your feet firmly against the ground engage the outer leg, a downward and outward motion.
  • Bring your hand to hips and slightly tip your pelvis forward. Moving the body forward into the balls of the feet.
  •  Release your hands from your hips and rise the shoulders upwards, towards the ears. Externally rotate the arms, bringing the shoulder blades together, and then lower the shoulders down. Keeping the broadness across the collarbones.
  • Bending at hip crease, fold forward by sending the crown of your head forward and towards the ground and yours hips backward and up.
  • Bring your hands to the ground and in line with your heals, fingers forward. Keep your arms straight or to deepen, work to create a 90 degree angle with the elbow. Bringing the crown toward the ground.
  •  Bending at the knee slightly, bring your hips over your heals. Then work to straighten your legs. Keeping the effort of the pose in the feet and legs.
  • Once you have found a stable position, take 5-10 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Allowing each breath to be longer and slower than the one before. Then return to natural breath.
  • To come out of the pose, bring your hands to your hips and a bend in the knee. Slowly rise up to a straight spine.

Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)

  •  Lie on your back and pull your knees in towards your chest and rock side to side, massaging the low back.
  • With bent knees, set your feet on the ground. Press into your feet to raise your hips off the ground. Set your hips down 1-3 inches to the left.
  • Pull your knees into your chest and then allow your knees to fall the right side.
  • Keep both shoulders secure on the ground and support or adjust the legs as needed.
  • Allow the body to feel heavy for this one. Releasing heat from the core and relaxing the muscles.
  •  Once you have found a stable position, take 5-10 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Allowing each breath to be longer and slower than the one before. Then return to a natural breath.
  •  Repeat other side.

 

Cooling Pranayama

Sheetali Pranayama

  • Begin in a comfortable seat (note, this breath can also be done standing or laying down).
  •  Rest your hands on your knees.
  • If seated or standing, elongate spine by reaching the crown of the head upward, keeping a slight tuck of the chin.
  • Stick your tongue out and roll the outside edges upward, creating a tube shape.
  • Inhale by drawing the breath through the tongue like a straw.
  • Upon completion of the inhale, bring the tongue back inside the mouth, sealing the lips, and
    pausing the breath for 4 to 8 seconds.
  • When ready, exhale sending the breath out the nostrils.
  • Repeat this process for 5 to 10 breaths.

Can’t roll your tongue? No worries, this next one is for you.

Sitkari Pranayama (teeth hissing breath)

  •  Begin in a comfortable seat (note, this breath can also be done standing or laying down).
  • Rest your hands on your knees.
  • If seated or standing, elongate spine by reaching the crown of the head upward, keeping a slight tuck of the chin.
  • With soft pressure, clench your teeth together and move your tongue away from the teeth.
  • Inhale by drawing the breath through the teeth, creating a hissing sound.
  • Upon completion of the inhale, seal the lips, and pause the breath for 4 to 8 seconds.
  • When ready, exhale sending the breath out the nostrils.
  • Repeat this process for 5 to 10 breaths.

From the Cadaver Lab to Holographic Medicine

Just about every January I find myself plotting out what continuing ed courses I’ll be taking in the coming months.  It’s a task I thoroughly enjoy and will spend hours weaving through the web, opening internet tab after tab of links to schools, online courses, programs and speakers from all fields of medicine, art, music and movement.  In these hours I fully immerse myself in dream world as I imagine how I want to unfold as a person in my own joy and wellness and how each opportunity could better hone my skills in the healing arts. 

As I follow this experience through I find myself ecstatically looking at a self- created continuing ed curriculum, composed of books to read, podcasts to listen to, classes to attend, and teachers and peers to reach out to.  This January I found myself brimming with joy as an email from Bastyr University popped up in my inbox announcing offerings this summer.  Top of the list was a cadaver lab.  I didn’t even think twice about it, that one was a must.  As excited as I was about signing up for this class I completely forgot about it in the hustle of all the changes this spring brought for me.  It wasn’t until the weekend before the class when I got the reminder that I lit up again thinking of the experience that await me.  Now I know what you’re thinking… “Cadavers Amber, really?”  But I just had a feeling it was something that would take me much deeper into my practice.

Morning of the lab I weaved my way across the lake to Kenmore.  Sun dancing through the gentle swaying trees, cotton weightlessly floating through the air- it was truly a beautiful June day.  Going to Bastyr is something I rarely have reason to do but always cherish when the occasion arises.  My path in medicine started with the health psyc program at Bastyr, which I changed out of to pursue what, I didn’t know at the time, would turn into an ever-deepening excitement for energy medicine.

The cadaver lab at Bastry is truly a sacred place.  Filled with light, plants and gratitude, the mindful approach of the students and staff is palpable.  We started and ended our days with blessings of gratitude and let our hands and eyes be guided by this profound respect shared by the group.   

We had a small class of 11, and while we were all sharing the same experience we each walked away with a different sense of aliveness and insight.  My insight occurred while looking at a nerve bundle tracking down the inner thigh.  At this point the teacher was pointing out the sensor neurons vs the motor neurons. She was showing how the signals from the tissues move from point A, you can say, to point B and how on a gross level this is the inner workings of body communication. I humored myself when the thought arose in me that linear mapping of the body didn’t make sense to me, but that holographic medicine was key.  This was not a new insight to me per se, as I practice holographic medicine, but it delighted me to be overlaying my broader knowledge of energy to the material workings of the physical body.

The world hologram comes from the Greek words “holos” meaning complete, or whole, and “gram” meaning message.  A hologram is the whole message.  Holography is the study of the three dimensional images created using light waves that interfere with each other, creating an image termed 'hologram'.  This image can be broken down into a number of pieces and each piece with still retain the complete image of the entire hologram. Holographic medicine in western medicine refers to the use of this special imaging for medical diagnosing, practice for students, etc. 

In Chinese Medicine, the principle of holograms is the foundation for energy medicine and is part and parcel of diagnosis and treatment.  Taking the pulses, examining chakras, tongue, face, feet, hands, abdomen, head, and ears are all ways to focus on one part of the whole, but through the lens of seeing that part as the whole.  Not only are parts of the body holograms (whole messages) but each acupuncture point (small chakra) is also a hologram.  What we consider to be parts, are really wholes.  This is why you can put a needle in one persons hand to help relieve their low back pain, but for another person with the same symptom needles are applied to their belly, head, or ankles.  The art of the medicine then becomes observing the hologram (whole message) and responding to that.

 Understanding this intricate and seamless relationship of parts and wholes we can understand why Spiritual Masters have all concluded to change the world you must change yourself. When we start experiencing ourselves as whole messages we find we each have a tremendous capacity to heal ourselves and experience life untethered.

Keeping your Chakras Balanced through Winter

Winter is a time of year that resonates strongly with our lower chakras.  Chakra, translates as spinning wheel.  There are many chakras in the body, but there are 7 considered to be the main ones.  These chakras sit along our spine, beginning at our tailbone coming up to our crown. Those who are clairvoyant report each of these chakras is about the size of an orange, spinning 3-dimensionally.   Each chakra acts like an information center.   This information is energy that is expressed through our mind, emotions and body.  When balanced, the chakras allow for higher states of consciousness to be embodied.  When out of balance, the chakras can express as limitations.

Not all texts agree on the information governed by each chakra.  This is partly due to the spinning wheels overlapping.  In esoteric acupuncture the lower two chakras are seen as energies that govern our sense of stability, collective unconscious, power, fame, how we manage our money, and sexuality. When balanced, these chakras create a tremendous amount of strength and solidity within our energy field, and in turn our mind and body.

There are many ways to balance the energies of the chakras, acupuncture is just one of them.  Another way to bring harmony and vitality to these centers is through diet.  Every food and drink has its own vibration.  In Chinese medicine, the etheric spleen is understood as governing the function of absorbing and assimilating these vibrations through our energy field.  This means what we consume becomes a part of us.  If we are eating foods that are dense, or stressing our body out, that energy directly influences our chakras, which in turn influences our mind, emotions, and biology.

Our energy fields are always resonating with the vibrations of nature.  In both spring and fall there is the natural pull to release, making them ideal times of year to clean up our diets and detox.  However, as we consider that the lower chakras are in strong resonance with winter, coupled with our cultural stress with holidays and year end, a little mini cleanse might be helpful to keep you feeling steady.

Eating for Health and Expanded Consciousness

“The seeds of disease – the germ or microbes- would not grow and cause disease unless the terrain of environment was conducive.”  - Claude Bernard, French physiologist

When it comes to nutrition, food is commonly recognized as form of daily physical medicine, but the energetics of food isn’t as discussed.  In this 9 minute video clip by Harry Oldfield you can see the energetic field of organic raw food, compared to over cooked and he talks about the difference between organic and non-organic energy fields:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLYCa2SsNak

While having a healthy food intake is of utmost importance for one’s wellbeing, sometimes it’s not enough.  We also need to consider if the body is able to take in those nutrients:

1.       Stomach enzymes - Enzymes are special proteins that are used in every chemical reaction within the body.  In order to break down foods properly our body creates what we call digestive enzymes.   Once we turn 27 or 28 our body slows down enzyme production, leaving us short on supply for breaking down our food.  Including a digestive enzyme at the beginning of your meal can help your GI tract extract all of the nutrients the body needs from your food.

2.       Pancreatic enzymes are produced in the pancreas and deposited into the duodenum, the beginning of the small intestine.  These enzymes help regulate the acidity of food, and maintain insulin levels to regulate blood sugar levels.  If one has a diet heavy in sugar the pancreas can become overworked and unable to maintain balance.  If this happens the blood becomes overly acidic and becomes a delightful playground for bacteria, fungus and parasites.  Pancreatic enzymes can help keep the blood alkaline and can also be used, along with diet change, to break down the thick cellulous walls found on bacteria (such as candida), fungus, and parasites. 

(For those dealing with auto-immune disorders, you may consider Systemic Enzymes.  Reach out to me for more information.)

3.       Probiotics are the good bacteria in our gut.  They help us breakdown food, making it possible to digest nutrients and directly support our immune system.  Historically people did not need to take supplements of probiotics, but now given the stress of our modern day, how food has changed due to packaging and bioengineering, most people benefit from having a supplement. 

 

Sugar Cleanse

By Michlle Wong

As we slowly ease out of the dark, wintry months and begin to embrace the fresh energy in the air and welcoming of spring, you might notice that the foods you choose shift as well.  

During the winter, we naturally gravitate towards denser foods that are more comforting, and pleasure inducing, usually in the form of heavy carbohydrates, like mac ’n cheese, and potatoes (with all the fixings!). These types of foods increase our happy hormone, serotonin, which is much needed during the shorter, darker days. But when we rely on foods to boost our serotonin levels, we can create imbalances in our blood sugar levels. 

As we shift into spring, because our body has been accustomed to the feel good affects of serotonin through comfort foods, our bodies will continue to seek out the feel-good carbs to maintain the serotonin levels. Our food choices may change, and we may gravitate towards sweets, like ice cream, sorbets, since the weather is getting warmer, and fruits are in season.

While I love desserts and find truffle fries too good to pass up, it’s important to be mindful of how often you’re grabbing these foods. If you find yourself consistently wanting sweet or salty foods, especially certain times during the day (say, at 2pm or 9pm), it can be a strong indicator that your blood sugar is off balance, and you’ve become dependent on these foods for pleasure.

This is a clear sign that you’ve developed cravings. I know for myself, when I start reaching for the same types of snacks at 9pm, my blood sugar is off balance. Our brain and body does need glucose to function, but only within a narrow range.

On a physiological level, when we eat too many refined carbs (can be sweet or salty), our blood gets flooded with excess glucose, causing our pancreas to release high levels of insulin to manage the excess. In the aftermath of dealing with the sugar spike, we’ll also experience a sugar crash – this happens after insulin has cleared the blood sugar. In a low blood sugar state, our body experiences another state of emergency, as there now isn’t enough glucose in the blood for the brain to properly function. Thus, cortisol is released to handle this, triggering us to grab convenient foods, as we need to get our blood sugar back up.

This internal stress response shows up externally as fatigue, crankiness, cravings, headaches, light-headedness and feeling out of balance. Overtime, if this pattern keeps repeating, the blood sugar imbalance can lead to cellular damage, inflammation, unwanted weight gain, and depression, moodiness, Type II Diabetes, and other degenerative diseases.

Going off sugar cold turkey is not easy to do, as our brain has become addicted to the sugar. I recommend gentler ways to ease off sugar versus quitting sugar completely.

With all meals and snacks, I recommend adding macronutrients: healthy protein, good fats, good carbs (like dark leafy greens), and fiber to all foods. Making sure you’re drinking plenty of filtered water to hydrate your cells.

Choose whole foods that are low glycemic (the glycemic index measures how fast foods will spike blood sugar upon consumption). Also incorporate a high-quality multi-vitamin and mineral to ensure you’re filling in the nutritional gap. When we’re not getting proper nutrients, we’ll also crave certain foods. It’s our body’s way of letting us know something is off balance.

Drink warm lemon water in the mornings to boost the digestive system.  

For breakfast, have a balanced, low-glycemic smoothie, that includes the macronutrients + fiber. Doing this first thing in the morning can really set your day up for success, as you won’t be spiking your blood sugar first thing, which reduces the chances of the sugar roller coaster cycle.

When we can stabilize our blood sugar consistently over all our snacks and meals, we can eventually bring our body back to balance, and overtime, can ease off the cravings.

Also, seek ways to find joy outside of food. Spend time outdoors, attend a movement class, catch a movie, or it is you enjoy doing.

If you'd like more structured support, I have a few different nutritional programs that can be customized to your health needs, and help curb cravings. You can learn more on my website: http://www.nonlinearpath.com. 

You may also email me at michelle@michellewwong.com for any questions. I'm happy to offer a complimentary 20min lifestyle + wellness strategy session, to go over your health goals and needs, and see which of the programs would be a good fit for you (or customize one for you!). 

 

To your vibrant health,

Michelle Wong

 

Bio:

Michelle has a diverse background that keeps her well-rounded. Receiving her bachelors in System & Information Engineering, she understands the demands and effects of a fast-paced job, and how when it comes to healthy changes: “if it’s not simple and easy, it won’t get done!” On the flip side, Michelle has a deep passion for movement, nutrition, and mentorship. It was through her own relationship with crazy diets, sugar cravings and binge eating that led her to look deeper beyond dieting, and what to eat/not to eat.

Michelle is a science nerd at heart, and completed her pre-med courses, and was a former Classical Chinese and Naturopathic Medicine student. She’s earned her nutrition advisor certificate from Sanoviv – a premiere functional medicine institute, as well as a certification in Eating Psychology Coach. With her experience and rich background, Michelle takes an analytical yet holistic approach to effective lifestyle changes. You can visit her website at: www.nonlinearpath.com, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Making the most of your food

Winter is the time of year when many people get sick.  We hit the ground running full speed on the hopes and ambitions of the New Year and as we near Spring we start to dwindle and our immune systems weaken.  By the time Spring is in full bloom we are too worn down to enjoy it.   We all know getting proper nutrition is key in being happy, healthy and energized.  It used to be that we could get most of the nutrients we needed from food.  As the conditions of our environment have changed, so too has the quality of the food we grow and the needs of our physical bodies.   Here are some tips of how to make the most of your food.

Eat your greens!  In Chinese medicine green is associated with the Heart.  Green foods build the blood and support the liver, and the liver cleans the blood.  In science, when we break down the molecular structure of blood and greens we see they almost mirror one another.  Including greens in your diet, especially dark greens, are good for fortifying the blood and nourishing our heart.   It’s best to eat your greens raw or with minimal processing as cooking breaks and destroys a lot of the beneficial enzymes.  

Right use of supplements.  It used to be we could get everything we needed from food, but now not only is our environment deteriorating, influencing the nutrient density of our foods, many people today use food as a way to combat their psychological, emotional and existential tensions.  This leads to overeating, or sometimes under-eating, and alters the choices we make of the foods we do eat.  For these reasons many people are struggling to get the proper nutrients needed to thrive.  Incorporating high quality supplements into your routine can help your body absorb and use nutrients more efficiently, and help the body repair from the toxins accumulated by living in our modern culture.  Probiotics, digestive enzymes, Chlorella, spirulina OMGAs and herbs can all be helpful.

Soak your beans & your nuts!  Beans and nuts have nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances as natural defense mechanisms.   Soaking them in water overnight removes these enzyme inhibitors.  We need enzymes to help us digest our food.  Inhibitors clog or denature an active site of an enzyme, or bind to the enzyme, which prevent the intended molecule from binding, in turn affecting digestion and nutrient absorption.

Keep the skins on! Veggie skins are extraordinarily nutrient dense.   If you eat organic, try leaving the peels and skins on your fruits and veggies.  If they aren’t organic strip them off- pesticides and toxins accumulate on the skin and on the area between the root and the leaves (as in carrots).

Mindful with potatoes.  In classical texts it was encouraged to eat root vegetables during the winter months.  This was in part because that was what was growing, as well as what would help the body sustain through the intense weather conditions.  The potato is a well-loved root in our culture.  Potatoes can be helpful for building substance in the body and in conditions of tension, heat and dryness, can be helpful in reducing sodium in the tissues.  However when eaten in excess, potatoes can result in withering and wrinkling of the skin, skin moles and rashes.  They can be difficult to digest and can contribute to a flatulence, intestinal swelling and reduction of minerals in the body.

Resources: The Body Ecology Diet, D. Gates; Food Energetics, S. Gagne.

 

What is Tui Na?

Within the practice of East Asian Medicine is a form of is a form of energetic massage called Tui Na (pronounced “Twee Naw”).  This approach to bodywork focuses on moving energy through the channels, releasing tension in the muscles and fascia, helping blood and qi (energy) flow with more ease.  This form of massage is effective at helping patients process emotions held in the body and mind, release stress, recover from acute injuries and address chronic conditions. 

Acupuncture & Energy Medicine

There are 5 elements that make up the human experience: The physical body, the body’s vital energy, the mind, the intuition and our life force. Healing is an integrative process that involves all of these levels.  Each level is immense, intricate and remains relatively mysterious to us.  In our culture we see 3 of these 5 elements addressed through medical modalities:  The physical body, the body’s vital energy, and the mental body.  The physical and mental are primarily addressed through western approaches.  The vital body is where we find energetic practices such as Acupuncture. 

The ancient form of Chinese medicine emerged within their spiritual worldview and the observation of the laws of nature.  As communism expanded across China the paradigm changed and became more materialized, in turn changing the way of eastern medicine.  If Chinese medicine has not adapted with the pressures of the western culture acupuncture would have been buried in the past like many other ancient healing practices.  Today, in our post-modern culture we are experiencing a re-emergence of spiritual curiosity and once more, we are seeing the field of energy medicine changing.  Acupuncture is embracing more of its spiritual roots.  This important shift flips energy medicine from being shaped as a reflection of our culture’s worldview to being a potential catalyst for opening a paradigm of wellness that unites the truths of both science and spiritually, and embraces the 5 elements of our human experience.

The practice of acupuncture focuses on balancing the vital energy body through stimulating (usually with needles) energetic points that correlate with the physical and mental bodies.  Our vital energy body is a trans-receiver- it is constantly transmitting and receiving information in the form of energy.  Energy is subtle and operates non-linearly.  This means our vital body is constantly sending out and simultaneously decoding subtle information.  This information has effects beyond what is measurable by science at this time. 

Acupuncture and energy healing are resonant modalities.  Resonant means to re-sound, have a strong tone, to echo.  When something puts off a strong resonance weaker frequencies will entrain to it.  A classic example of this is in a clock shop; the clock with the strongest “tick” will over time coax all the other clocks to tick in sync with it.  Energetic practices such as acupuncture tune our energy fields allowing us to emit stronger and more coherent frequencies.  When we experience coherent energy fields we feel more balanced, at ease, vital, empowered, integrated, healthy and overall a deeper sense of wellbeing.

In addition to acupuncture I often blend in my sessions other resonate tools such as tuning forks, light therapy and essential oils.  Each tool helps strengthen my client’s energy field and in turn has positive effects such as unblocking stagnation, reduce pain and inflammation, calming the nervous system and resetting patterns.  Many of my clients have had much success in dealing with conditions like insomnia, anxiety, depression, chronic and acute pains, chronic fatigue, arthritis, MS, digestion disorders, fertility, migraines and seeking self-cultivation.

Natural and Effective Support for Fertility

When you want to have a baby few other things in life seem to matter and complications with conceiving and holding to full term can be devastating.  Fertility challenges are faced by many and while there is much help available the journey can still be full of stressful challenges, heartache and loneliness.  This is where 5 Element acupuncture can help.

Acupuncture as Natural Support

Acupuncture is a simple and elegant medicine because of the way it works with the body’s own resources to heal and thrive.  We don’t know exactly how acupuncture works, but we do know that when you adjust the energetic system in the way that it does, it has a direct effect on the body, mind and emotions.  When the energy is out of balance you can have all sorts of symptoms and ailments making it difficult to conceive or carry to full term.

As an acupuncturist I’ve found that working with the energy to ensure it is flowing freely and evenly, building and easing it, and tailoring the treatments to the person’s energetic constitution can have remarkable effects in overcoming fertility challenges.   5 Element acupuncture is a specific kind of acupuncture that works with the energy in these ways.  It is different from other forms of acupuncture in the way it focuses on a person’s constitution.  Many people have fertility challenges and yet no one has them for the exact same reason.  While some common threads may run through,  when it comes down to it, each of us is unique in our makeup and experiences.

This uniqueness is important when it comes to energy medicine.  Take for example two bodies of water, similar in size and location.  On the surface they appear the same and yet where you to take a look in them they would be composed very differently; filled with different fish, rocks, growth.  Perhaps one gets slightly more wind exposure or the rivers that feed into it come from different sources.  This is just like how different experiences have an impact on each one of us.  Because 5 Element acupuncture can take these subtle differences into account the treatments can target to the root of imbalances and bring things into harmony in a more sustainable way for that individual than just targeting the symptoms.

Sinking Intention into the Movement of Your Qi

In the workshop I’m giving this month we started by talking about how we can rest our attention on our qi, and we can also meet it with intention (awareness with deliberateness).  Dancers do this literally as they move their body with precision from one position to another.  In the moment their awareness becomes singularly focused and their biochemistry, mind and emotions respond to the direction of their intention.  

Any form of energy medicine, be it acupuncture, sound, reiki, yoga, art, dance, some forms of massage, all share the ability to help draw your awareness to the vast energetic matrix that makes us up. Once you can rest your awareness on your vital force, you can start to meet it with your intentions.  When this happens we no longer need to rely on outside treatments to keep us healthy.  Instead wellness starts to rise from within as we begin to understand the depth of what it means to take personal responsibility for our own health and well being.  Then energy medicine becomes a tool that can take us further down our path, unlocking energy paradigms and configurations allowing us to experience expanded consciousness.  With expanded consciousness comes the resolve of old patterns and habits and an opening into a more peaceful way of being.

Creating a Spring Cleanse

The state of our internal environment determines whether disease or imbalances can develop in our body.  In Chinese Medicine blood is the ruler of our internal environment.  By nature, we thrive when our bodies are slightly alkaline.  Alkalizing foods help remove hydrogen ions that can be accumulated from foods, as found in animal proteins or junk food.  If these hydrogen ions aren’t removed then our blood becomes too acidic and our immune system weakens and pathogens are more likely to take root. 

Energetically speaking, when our body is in a healthy state it emits stronger more coherent frequencies and in turn we attract similar energies and dispel any unharmonious. 

Spring is the perfect time to do a cleanse and re-establish a healthy and balanced internal environment.  In addition to supporting our physical health, cleanses also help us gain mental clarity, release unwanted emotional patterns, help us through life transitions and support spiritual centeredness and clarity. Cleanses give our system a break from constant irritants or stressors to our body and allow us to find inner stillness, illuminating our highest Hearts desires and purpose.

A few things to consider when approaching a detox:

  1. Treat it like a ritual.

Historically rituals have been used in spiritual circles as a way to give recognition and appreciation to, and to engage and direct the movement of something bigger than our own self.  Rituals tend to have an opening and closing, and are often used to manifest or give honor to something in our experience.  When we introduce life changes into our experience through rituals our relationship to the change lifts as it naturally encompasses a sacred or honoring perspective.  It also opens our curiosity and creates space in our mind for something new to emerge or be experienced.  I’ve found this to be very helpful when introducing habit changes in my diet or exercise, or meditation practice, or even work projects. 

 2.  Know why you’re doing it & design it to meet your intentions

Everything we do gives us the opportunity to know and understand ourselves even more.  Knowing the motivation behind doing a cleanse will help you stay focused and committed.  It also gives you the ground to design it.  Taking care of the body is a form of art.  Just as an artist shapes a sculpture or seamstress stiches fabrics together, the way we care for our body is seamless with self-expression and how vibrant we think and feel.

When you’re designing your cleanse consider how long you want to do it.  Typically they are anywhere from 3 to 21 days.  Plan what dietary changes you want to make and allow time in your schedule to shop for and prepare the foods.  Consider pulling in different exercise or meditation practices that can enhance your experience and meet your intentions.  You may find as your body releases the toxins in your body that you’re body desires a different form of exercise.  Replacing intense cardio or weight lifting with yoga or tai chi may feel really good.

Writing out your ritual and intentions and post it where you can see it every day can be very helpful.

 3.  Eat your greens

Greens nourish our hearts in so many ways.  From a Hindu perspective, the heart chakra nourishes our system by pulling in the frequency of the color green through our being.  From a Chinese medicine perspective green is associated with the element of Wood, related to the function of the liver that cleans and directs the blood flow and nourishes the heart energy.  Scientifically, hemoglobin (blood) and chlorophyll are almost molecularly identical.  When our diet is full of greens our blood is nourished and alkalinized. Eat your greens raw if you can.  It maintains the healthy enzymes our system needs to stay vibrant.  Cooking food kills the enzymes and depletes its nutrient density.

Great foods to include in a cleanse:

Spirulina
Kale
Collards
Spinach
Celery (especially juiced)
Beets(a great juice is 50% beets and 50% lemons)
Seaweeds (kelp/dulse)
Cucumbers
Daikon Radish
Asparagus
Apples (green in particular)
Parsley & Cilantro (great juiced)
Red Cabbage

Other dietary suggestions for a cleanse:  Eliminate processed foods, sugar, alcohol, coffee/caffeine, processed carbs such as breads and pastas.  Herbs, colonics, steams, and Epsom salt soaks can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a detox.  Speak with your health provider for recommendations.

If you want to try a juice cleanse but don’t have a juicer you can order juices here:http://www.juiceboxseattle.com/

Elimination diet resources: http://www.nourishingmeals.com/p/elimination-diet.html

4.  Detox your mind and emotions

Your body may naturally release emotions or you may recall memories as you go through your detox.  Our body holds on to our memories and what our minds/emotions have trouble processing it will hold on to. Experiencing them or feelings of frustration or grief during a detox can be the body’s way of letting things go.  Acknowledge that whatever experiences you have had is a part of you, but does not need to determine your future.  You may schedule in more quiet time or try things like journaling or yoga to help channel the release of these thoughts and emotions.   If you have a specific behavior or mental/emotional pattern you want to release it can be helpful to set a mantra, a visualization or a meditation with your intention to let it go and bring in the more desired experience.

Resonate Healing

Acupuncture, sound therapy and massage are all modalities that can help us move toward deeper states of wellness.  Wellness is a path that resonates with more integrated and refined frequencies.  Everyone’s path is different and unique to them, just as every living being has a unique vibration.  Like a finger print, your vibration is unique to you. 

We are composed of multiple energy fields- the energy field of our limbs, core, chakras, our organs, cells, our thoughts and emotions – and like a symphony each of these fields have a unique frequency that together send out an integrated tone.  At our best, all our fields are humming strong and harmoniously.  At times of support we may find one or more of our frequencies is less than optimal, deficient in quantity or quality. 

As we move through life we’re naturally drawn to certain things and repelled by others.   This is the law of attraction and the law of resonance in action.  The law of attraction, stating that like attracts like, explains why we may be drawn to a certain career, or person, or land.  Why we crave to be by the water, or in the heat of the desert, why we may fall in love with someone, why we may dislike others.  Our energy is always dancing with the energy of our environment and the energy of those in our field.  Things that fuel us literally do so on an energetic level; as the law of resonance states that the stronger frequency will entrain a weaker one. 

The law of resonance also explains why modalities like acupuncture and sound healing can help us heal the body.  By “humming” certain frequencies within our field, the body is reminded of its natural state and rises up to be at its healthy and optimal frequency.  Vibrations can release mental, emotional and spiritual blocks by untangling the energy flow allowing us to connect with what is available to us in the moment from the universal energy around us.

Are you too Damp?

Dampness is a condition that can be created in the body by our internal or external environment.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we look at the root of conditions similar to weather.  Too much Heat, Cold and Dampness are common culprits for conditions such as arthritis, chronic fatigue, MS, cancer, candida, and much more.  In 5 Element theory, dampness is often associated with the Earth element.  Once it’s developed symptoms, such as low energy, feeling sluggish, mental fog, low motivation, weight gain, craving sweet foods….sinus congestion, post nasal drip, and….excessive mucous production can appear (just to name a few). It can lead to yeast/fungal growth and be a great harbor for parasites. 

Long exposures to cold and damp conditions and contribute to it, but more often in our culture we see the development of it stem from internal environment.  Foods that are too sweet, salty, mucus-producing, stale or rancid.  It is also aggravated by excessive anxiety or worry, late night eating and overeating, antibiotics and oral contraceptives.

Once dampness is set in the body it can take time to resolve but can be done so by diet and exercise.  Below are some tips on foods to avoid/limit and to include..

Be mindful of:

– Carbohydrates should be consumed moderately as they are mucus and acid forming, meaning even a small amount can contribute to yeast and fungal conditions.  If chewed thoroughly and not over-eaten, carbs can become more alkaline and less mucus-forming.

– Very sweet or starchy veggies such as potatoes and concentrated sweeteners (check juices) are best avoided

– Most red meats, milk, and eggs, tofu, soy products, pineapple, salt and concentrated sweeteners have properties that promote yeast/fungal growth.

– Foods rich in oils can overwork the liver, weaken the pancreas, and cause dampness, so it is suggested that nuts, seeds, avocados, oils and other fatty foods are used very sparingly if at all.  (Flaxseed oil is the exception and can be used up to 1 tablespoon a day)

-Avoid dairy, wheat, processed foods, refined flour, pastries, pasta, breads, and limit coffee, alcohol, sugar, sugar substitutes, peanuts and peanut butter, bananas, avocados

You’re good with:

– Best grains:  Millet, roasted buckwheat groats (kasha), amaranth and quinoa.

– Aduki beans help dry damp conditions and mung beans help detoxify, so these can be used more often than other beans.  Their sprouts are especially recommended. 

– Alternative milks (hemp, almond, oat, rice) and raw goats milk will not usually contribute to damp conditions in the body.

– Carrots, parsnips, rutabagas and beets

– Small amounts of fruits are ok.  Berries, pomegranates, lemons, limes are fine.

– Lettuce, celery, turnip, asparagus, pumpkin, vinegar (tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in a cup of water), papaya help dry dampness

 Lastly, exercise is important as it circulates the blood and oxygenates the body. 

If you think you might have a damp condition let’s talk.  While these diet suggestions are safe for all to try, tailoring it to your specific needs can help you resolve it faster.

 

*Information sourced from Paul Pitchford’s Healing with Whole Foods, 3rd edition.

Strengthening your Immune System

With the change of season can come many new challenges for our bodies to adapt to.  Energetically the shift from summer into fall is a rather dramatic as yang qi gives way to a stronger presence of yin qi.  With this transition, we are often more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu, as our body is trying to adapt to the sudden shift.  As we move into what is culturally called “Flu Season” we naturally start to seek out ways to strengthen our immune system.   Chinese medicine describes how our body is energetically aligned to help us defend against pathogens this time of year.  The energy of autumn resonates strongly with our lungs and large intestine.  When in balance, these two organs thrive this time of year, and are key players of our immune system. 

Our lungs disperse what is called Defensive qi, or wei qi, throughout our energy field.  Wei qi creates a cocoon field around us, helping prevent any pathogens from entering our field and body.  Our large intestine works to remove toxins from the body.  If the lungs are the first line of defense, the colon is the last line, pushing anything that did get into our system out.  Together, the lungs and large intestine work synergistically to keep us healthy.  The energy of autumn naturally resonates with them, increasing their ability and function.

Due of our environment and lifestyle, the resonance from nature may not be enough to support our bodies in the transition of the seasons.  Therefore, to avoid illness, we resort to a variety of options with varying degrees of success: flu shots, hot yoga, more vitamins, more rest, energy work, herbs or massage. We might also try acupuncture, essential oils or probiotics to support our physiology.

  1. Any acupuncture point on the body, when stimulated with an acupuncture needle will immediately send a message to the entire system to bolster the immune system. If you do come down with a seasonal illness specific points can be used to help target the affected area.
  2. Essential oils are powerful antioxidants that create an unfriendly environment for free radicals. They are naturally antibacterial, anticancer, antifungal, anti-infections, antimicrobial, and antiviral.  When diffused they can help remove toxins in the air.  When applied to the skin they are rapidly absorbed and can affect every cell in our body within twenty minutes, penetrating our cell walls, increase cell oxygen. 
  3. Probiotics are great to take daily to help keep your immune system strong and to strengthen the colon and prevent constipation (constipation inhibits the function of the colon to be able to rid to body of pathogens)
  4. Viruses thrive in acidic blood, which is often caused by excessive processed sugar and/or too much dairy.  Cold weather can often trigger colds and flues, but it will only take root in your body if your internal environment is compromised.  We can view colds and flues as a sign our body needs to detox. 
  5. Don’t fatigue! Fatigue can cause our immune system to break down as our energy is not strong enough to properly circulate and support all our functions.  Get the rest you need.

Sources:  Modern Essentials:  A contemporary guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils; Support the Mountain:  Nutrition for Expanded Consciousness; Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture