Thursday, June 28, 2012


This summer, as I write this fourth blog, wildfires rage in Colorado, California, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Nebraska, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii (Maui).  Global warming is likely responsible for much of the temperature and weather extremes that led to these fires.  A hundred years ago, when the world’s ecology was more in balance, fires begun by lightning strikes were ultimately beneficial to the environment despite their short-term harm to vegetation and animals.  Fires burn away dense land-covering, re-open large areas of land to sunlight, and allow the re-emergence of grasslands and young trees.  Seeds of some flowers and grasses only germinate when exposed to fire’s high temperatures.  Today, closely supervised burning of carefully chosen areas is one way to effectively manage wilderness areas.

With the recent decrease of wooded areas and aquifers, and the construction of homes in or near woodlands, fires have posed an increasingly serious problem for humans.  Not only do forest fires reduce the total amount of oxygen available; they also increase the amount of dioxins in the air.  In cities and suburbs, destructive fires can be caused by burning leaves, neglected cigarettes, or faulty electrical wiring.   Clearing sections of trees from wooded areas to provide fire-breaks and treating indoor and outdoor fires with great care can help with prevention.  By keeping increasing numbers of plants in our homes and using air filters, we can partially counteract oxygen loss and air pollution due to fires. 

I had the opportunity to experience the threat of forest fires at close range on a visit to Montana and Glacier National Park in 2003, a year of record fires in Glacier.  As far away as Missoula, where I spent the first few days of my trip, ash filled the air and turned my white car grey overnight. Because I felt extremely fatigued, achy and feverish, and too ill to treat myself, I made an appointment with a local chiropractor and acupuncturist.  She offered me warm water and powdered turmeric (an anti-inflammatory and tonic herb) afterward.  Her skillful treatment kept me comfortable and energetic for the rest of my visit.

In Chinese five element theory, summer is the season of the element fire.  According to this theory, forest fires or global warming could be represented by one or more pathologically strong elements in the body or Nature, such as fire (fever or inflammation) throwing some or all of the other four elements (earth, metal, water wood) out of balance.  Illness or environmental distress can result.  A skilled acupuncturist can use fire, the most powerful of the five elements, to help patients heal from illness and stay healthy.

This blog’s tip:  mid-June through the end of July is the most powerful time for the element fire.  Acupuncture treatments are especially effective during these several weeks.  I highly recommend making an appointment during this time, in order to reduce inflammation and to use the strength of the fire element in your body and the environment for accelerated healing.                                                       

Friday, June 8, 2012

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    “Walking Trees”: Correcting Eyesight without Glasses or Surgery
A qi gong-like exercise which I call “walking trees” has been responsible for the correction of my near-sightedness for several decades.  I’ve taught it to many patients and some friends and family members.  Those who have used this exercise daily, in the prescribed manner, have almost always obtained beneficial results.  “Walking trees” also could be considered yoga; it involves specific movements accompanied by a positively expectant state of mind.  I first learned of this exercise through the Edgar Cayce Association.  Edgar Cayce was arguably the most famous and accurate psychic of the twentieth century.  He referred to this yoga/qi gong as the “head and neck exercises”. 
“Walking trees” can be done sitting, standing, or walking.  It is best done walking out of doors among trees, on somewhat uneven terrain.  The spine should be reasonably straight.  This therapy consists of six sets of movements, each done three times.  First, the head and neck are flexed forward and then brought back to midline before again flexing forward.  After three of these movements, the head and neck are extended backward, three times, then flexed laterally to the right, then to the left, then rotated clockwise and finally rotated counterclockwise three times each.  Between each set of three, and before each new type of movement, the head and neck are returned to midline.  Head and neck should be moved slowly, in a relaxed manner, and to their furthest possible range without causing discomfort. 
The “walking trees” exercise might best be attempted seated first and then standing.  When a person no longer gets dizzy standing while doing this exercise, it is time to begin walking, first on even ground and then among trees, where roots and stones may cause the ground to gently swell or sink.  The eyes are kept open, and if glasses or contact lenses are normally worn, they are removed during this time.  If the person is so near-sighted without glasses that they might be in danger of walking into branches, protective clear goggles can be worn.  Numerous factors make this a particularly effective exercise.  Movement in various directions while the eyes are open forces the eyes to focus on different spots.  Doing this exercise while walking challenges every part of the eye, including the lens and the surrounding muscles.  Walking on uneven ground, outside among trees, carries benefits even further, for now the practitioner is able to breathe in more oxygen from the surrounding vegetation, and to absorb other forms of beneficial energy from the out of doors.  At the same time, the trees absorb the person’s carbon dioxide.  According to acupuncture five element theory, the wood element is associated with trees and the liver, and the eyes are the sensory organ connected with the liver. 
This exercise can be used to support acupuncture treatment of visual problems.  It is best to do “walking trees” every day for an entire year.  Gentle use of “walking trees” can also aid in the healing of neck and upper back injuries through the mobilization, stretching and strengthening, and relaxation which this exercise allows.  To this end, it is usually practiced morning and evening, in a comfortable seated position.  Over several weeks or months, local blockages in acupuncture channels which traverse the head and face, the neck, and the upper back can be reduced or eliminated, restoring normal flow of qi and blood through the tissues.  Since everything is connected, in the body and in the universe at large, this will ultimately improve a person’s overall health.
This blog was extracted from an article I wrote for the Oriental Medicine Journal in 2011.  You can reach their website by clicking on  You can reach the A.R.E., the organization which organizes and shares Edgar Cayce’s readings by clicking on  Share this blog with others who might benefit.  This blog’s free offer is the opportunity to read the entire article on correcting eyesight without glasses.  Just contact me at or (773) 274-6827 to arrange a time to drop by my office.  I will also take a few minutes to teach you “walking trees” if you have questions about it.