Friday, December 25, 2015

                         Blog#46: Ear Acupuncture and a New Year’s Gift

Also called auriculotherapy, this kind of acupuncture is applied to the ears.   Auriculotherapy can be used to reduce or eliminate pain, help balance the autonomic nervous system, and help improve the functioning of internal organs. Although this style of acupuncture is complex and detailed, lay people can learn to locate some points and massage them gently to help in certain situations, especially when dealing with stress.  Highlight and right click or double click on the link below to view an ear chart where some of the important acupuncture points are labeled.

When massaged gently, usually in a clockwise direction, some of these points can help calm the mind and relax the body.  Four of the most important and effective points for relaxation and stress reduction are ZERO POINT, SHEN MEN, LUNG and ENDOCRINE.   It is important that if you are massaging these points, you do so in a loving and respectful manner, accepting whatever results occur.  When used  appropriately, ZERO POINT helps balance the entire body, SHEN MEN helps calm the mind, LUNG POINT helps relax the diaphragm and can improve vital capacity and oxygenation of the body, and ENDOCRINE POINT helps improve the functioning of the endocrine glands, which include the adrenal glands, gonads, pancreas, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, pituitary, and pineal gland.

An acupuncturist often uses small needles on ear points, and also often allows these needles to be left in for several hours or up to a couple of days.  Needles often fall out by themselves, and sometimes they can be gently removed, either by the acupuncturist or the recipient of treatment.  After needle removal, the ear should be cleansed with alcohol or perhaps hydrogen peroxide or iodine to make sure the area does not become infected. 

Recently, “Battlefield Acupuncture”, which uses several ear points, has gained some popularity.  Just as it sounds, these points are sometimes used in emergency situations to calm wounded soldiers, reduce pain, or even slow bleeding when other treatments are not available. 

This blog’s offer:  feel free to contact me with questions regarding these four points.  Also, I offer a “happy hour” treatment which takes about 20 minutes, and can leave you feeling calmer and more relaxed. 

During the month of January, I will mail out something I think will be of interest to you.  Please give me your feedback about the mailing and also let me know if you did not receive it. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

                                           Blog#45 Pain Is Not a Lifestyle

Almost everyone suffers from chronic physical pain at some time; some people will have chronic pain from long periods of time, and a few will experience it for most of their lives.  Sometimes, they are prescribed medications to manage their pain.  Many of these medications have serious long-term side-effects, and are addictive.  Life does not have to be that way; there are many ways pain can be reduced or eliminated without harm or addiction.  I offer many of these ways in my practice.  Listed below are several highly effective and safe holistic approaches to reducing or eliminating pain.

1.     Improved nutrition.  Several types of foods tend to be pro-inflammatory, which means, among other things, that their consumption will tend to increase pain level and duration.  Gluten, found in several types of grains, especially wheat, barley, and rye, is pro-inflammatory.   In addition, certain foods feed yeast and long-term, high consumption can result in increased abdominal discomfort and bloating as well as eventual problems such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, joint pain, and a compromised immune system.  Some studies have shown that frequent consumption of wheat, especially white flour and white and brown sugar, as well as some other sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup, pasteurized honey, and some artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, saccharin, and splenda can result in the above-mentioned health issues as well as blood sugar imbalances.  Also, processed foods, such as packaged cereals, breads, pastas, and especially processed meats, can exacerbate arthritic problems and other health issues. 

2.     Appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises.  Exercise helps improve blood and lymph circulation, improve brain function, elevate the spirit, calm the mind, increase energy level, stabilize the musculoskeletal system, and strengthen the immune system.  Too much overly demanding exercise can be draining or even lead to injury, so it is important for each person to find and adhere to the appropriate amount and intensity of exercise for them.  Walking, yoga, tai chi, chi gong and Pilates are all exercise types that can be appropriate.

3.   Using the mind calmly and effectively.  Hypnosis, self-hypnosis, and meditation can all be helpful.  Through hypnosis and self-hypnosis (all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis) pain can be reduced or eliminated.  This is a relatively simple process taught by a hypnotist.  Pain should not changed or eliminated until a thorough investigation is made to find the source of the pain, since in some cases,  pain must be addressed physically and not erased by the mind; otherwise, more serious problems may arise.  Self-hypnosis and meditation can also be used to relax with the pain so that it is not so distressing. 

4.     Energy work such as acupuncture.  Acupuncture is well known for its ability to relieve pain.  It is sometimes used as anesthesia for surgery in China and also in the U.S. and other countries.  Although a skillful acupuncturist can often reduce or eliminate pain with a treatment, the relief may be short term unless the root of the pain is found and addressed.   Acupuncture, along with other holistic approaches, such as improved nutrition, herbal therapy, chiropractic adjusting, exercise, massage, and meditation can help eliminate the root problem, and this way, the pain will not recur. 

      I credit one of my chiropractic and acupuncture teachers, Michael S. Greene, of Lee’s Summit, MO with the phrase “pain is not a lifestyle”. 

     This blog’s offer:  contact me for a free 20 minute consultation about what kind of holistic therapy would be appropriate to reduce or eliminate your pain.       773-2746827 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

   Blog#44:  Acupuncture Can Support Your Health through the Holidays

The holidays, beginning with Halloween, with its sugar overload, moving on through Thanksgiving, with its massive feast, and ending with Christmas, Kwanza or Hanukah, with their rituals, rich food and close interaction with family and friends, can stress our digestive and nervous systems.  Acupuncture, with its ability to calm the mind and relax the body, as well as its ability to support the digestive and eliminative systems, can be helpful at the times we encounter these stressors, and also afterward, when we may be suffering some of the discomforts arising from the holidays’ excesses and other challenges.  

A skillful acupuncture treatment can help relax the gallbladder sphincter and allow it to empty into the duodenum, thus taking stress off the liver.  This can alleviate or eliminate abdominal pain which some of us experience after a large meal of rich food.  This same treatment approach can also help relax tense muscles, especially the gluteals and the piriformis (all located in the buttock area), the muscles running along the spinal column (the paraspinal muscles), and muscles in the thighs and legs. 

A special combination of acupuncture points, referred to as the four gates, can help circulate blood and energy throughout the body and result in a more relaxed body and a calmer mind.  Special points on the abdomen located on either side of the navel as well as above and below the navel, can often help alleviate constipation, gas, abdominal bloating, and even acid reflux.  Included below is a link to an article published by the University of Chicago listing the many scientifically proven benefits of a good acupuncture treatment.  

Quite a few points on the body respond well to direct or circular clockwise pressure; they are safe and are worth a try if you find yourself in discomfort and unable to find an acupuncturist for treatment.  One point is liver 3 (translated from the Chinese as Great Surge), located between the first and second toes.  Below is a link to an excellent short You Tube instruction about locating and massaging this point.

A point that can be helpful in strengthening the function of the digestive tract and giving us more energy to get through those long hours of holiday festivity, is stomach 36 (translated from the Chinese as Leg Three Miles), located on the lateral aspect of the calf approximately three inches below the inferior border of the kneecap (patella).  Below is a link which shows how to locate and massage this point.

One last tip involves moving the hand downward, from one acupuncture point on the abdomen to another.  All the points encountered in this downward sweeping motion are located on the midline of the abdomen.  The uppermost point, Conception Vessel 12 (translated from the Chinese as Central Venter), is located approximately five inches above the navel, on the midline.  Below is a link to help you locate this point.  The bottom-most point, Conception Vessel 4 (translated from the Chinese as Gate of Origin), is located approximately three inches below the navel, also on the midline.  It is vital to make sure the sweeping motion is only directed downward; do not run your fingers back up this line in order to reach CV12 to repeat the sweep.  Instead, remove your hand completely from the abdomen and then place it again on CV12.  Below is a link that will help you locate CV4.

This blog’s offer:  contact me for an appointment to help you make it comfortably through the holidays, while retaining vitality and peace of mind.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

                         Blog# 43 An Introduction to Acupuncture and Qi

Acupuncture, an ancient system of Asian medicine, can address many health issues and also help optimize mental and physical functioning and comfort.  Especially well-known as a method of pain control, acupuncture can also help improve hearing and eyesight, help injuries heal more quickly than they otherwise would, calm the mind and emotions, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, relax muscle spasm, help relieve some types of constipation and diarrhea, relieve and prevent sinus and other respiratory infections, alleviate headaches, help regulate blood sugar, strengthen the immune system, and much more.

Acupuncture works with Qi, also spelled “chi”, which is a concept and energy for which Western medicine has no precise equivalent.  Qi can direct blood and lymph flow, allows internal organs to function more healthfully and efficiently, relax muscles, help the immune system function in a balanced and harmonious way, and help the mind function more effectively.  Qi runs in channels (also referred to as meridians) in the body which connect internal organs, muscles, skin and bone.  Qi has both magnetic and electrical qualities.  When you receive an acupuncture treatment, if you keep your mind totally quiet and just focus on the needles and your body, you may be able to sense tingling, mild fasciculation, warming or cooling of certain areas of the body, and sometimes even a lightness or heaviness of limbs or of the body in general.  These feelings are due to the presence and movement of Qi, which is a mental as well as a physical energy. 

Acupuncture includes several different types of techniques which all work with specific points and channels.  In addition to needling, acupuncture includes massage (acupressure and tui na), cupping (creating suction over larger, flat areas of the body by using one or more cup-like apparatus), and moxibustion (the skilled and very specific use of heat usually generated by burning the herb mugwort).

One of my favorite uses of acupuncture is to help improve the circulation to and from the nasal sinuses and the other sinuses in the head.  The improvement of circulation results in less sinus congestion and fewer infections.  Some people have been able to feel the direction of Qi flow in the body during a treatment, and eventually have been able to help improve and regulate Qi flow with their minds.  These fortunate people need fewer treatments than most of us, and often can learn to regulate their sinus health most of the time.

This blog’s offer:  at your request, during an acupuncture treatment I will help you become more aware of Qi sensations.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

                Blog#42:  A Nine Part Qi Gong from Which You Can Benefit

Of all the Qi Gong Exercises I have learned over the years, my favorite is my modified version of a set of nine simple forms Master Stephen Co said he learned from one of his patients/students, and then chose to share in his well-received book, Your Hands Can Heal You.  This set of qi gong forms will help keep your mind calm and your body energized.  Like any other skill, qi gong can take several years to learn at a deep level, though you are likely to find it enjoyable after just several weeks of daily practice.  Eventually, when you learn something well enough, you are totally present and can sense thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in minute detail.  In this state, the concerto may play through the pianist, the poem may write through the author, and the qi gong form may manifest through the practitioner.  Just to be clear:  I am not particularly a fan of Pranic Healing and other similar techniques.  However, I do know a good qi gong form when I see and practice one, and this form is excellent, safe, accessible, and short (you can finish it in less than fifteen minutes). 

I will present the first three forms in this blog.  The first form is in my version, but not in Stephen Co’s.  It can be found in blog #38.  It is done standing relaxed, with knees slightly bent, heels touching, and toes pointing out at approximately 45 to 60 degrees.  The shoulders are relaxed and the fingers dangle downwards, palms facing the sides of the body. 

The second form involves alternate nostril breathing.  In my modified version, standing with the lower body in the same position as above, the left nostril is closed with the left index finger or thumb for half of this exercise.  First one inhales through the right nostril for a count of six, holds it in for a count of three, exhales through only the mouth for a count of six, and holds the breath out for a count of three.  This is done a total of three times.  Next comes the second part of the exercise, where the left nostril is released and the right is closed while inhaling into the left nostril for a count of six.  The breath is held in for a count of three.  After this, the left nostril is closed and the right is released, while one exhales for a count of six through the right nostril.  The breath is held out for a count of three, and the process of inhaling through the left and exhaling through the right is repeated two more times, for a total of three times. 

The third form I will describe is also done standing in the same way; it is very similar to Stephen Co’s description.  Shoulders are relaxed; hands dangle down by the sides.  The following is done fourteen times:  the head is extended in a relaxed manner while inhaling through both nostrils, then the head is flexed forward while exhaling forcefully through the mouth.  This is done relatively quickly – the whole process should not take more than a half a minute. 

A fourth, transitional exercise, which I do not count as a form but Stephen Co does, involves standing relaxed, with the eyes closed and the mind resting on an area just below the navel.  Inhale and exhale slowly, at least three times.  This helps gather qi (energy) circulating from the previous form and also helps focus energy for use in the next form.  This transitional exercise is done between each form, and also after the last form. 

With practice, after doing just these three forms plus the transitional one, the sinuses may become cool and much clearer.  The whole body may feel more relaxed and energized, and the mind may become calmer. 

This Blog’s offer:  feel free to call or email me with questions about these three forms, and also if you want to learn my version of all nine forms.  If there is interest, I will free up an hour between 7 and 8 pm on Tuesday night, and/or an hour between 10 and 11 am on Thursday morning to help people learn and practice this form.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

                              Blog#41:  Qi Gong Can Help Relieve Pain

Because Qi Gong is energy work, and can help move and increase energy when used appropriately, it can also sometimes help relieve pain, including back and joint pain.  The exercises described in the previous five blogs, especially Blog#40, can be helpful in this way.  It is important to understand that although the pain relief experienced can be impressive, it also usually is temporary.  Practicing Qi Gong exercises on a regular basis – probably daily – can help results be more lasting.  However, to achieve long-term pain relief, lifestyle changes and possibly also time, rest, and sometimes vitamins, herbs, medication or even surgery may also be necessary. 

If pain is due to an acute strain or sprain, rest and time will be absolutely essential for recovery.  Since there are many different types of Qi Gong, exercises done while seated, standing, or lying down may be most helpful initially. 

Another type of Qi Gong which may be helpful in alleviating pain is easy to learn and practice.  The hands are placed over or on either side of the problem area.  In order to allow the hands to help maximally with pain control and healing, keep the mind empty, the spine straight, and rub the hands together rapidly for at least 30 seconds.  Then, focus on the palms of the hands and check for a tingling, warm, and perhaps a pulsing sensation.  Pressure or a magnetic pull may also be felt when the palms are facing each other.  The closer the palms come together, the stronger the pressure or pull may be.  As the palms are drawn away from each other, the sensation tends to be less noticeable.  A point may be reached when the hands are so far apart that the pressure or pull are no longer perceived.  They still may be present, however. 

Now, having maximized the sensations between the palms, place the hands on either side of the affected area.  If that is not possible, then place one or both hands close to the area needing help.  This can be done multiple times each day, for several minutes each time.  This Qi Gong method should be done on oneself only, not on another person.  It takes much training to use this method successfully on another person without causing problems for oneself.

This blog’s offer:  feel free to contact me free of charge with questions about the above exercise.  For a reasonable fee, I will spend 30 to 60 minutes with you to make sure you know how to use this technique appropriately.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

                                Blog #40: Qi Gong for Lungs and Kidneys

Today’s blog will give step by step instructions about how to practice a short Qi Gong exercise that frequently can help improve vitality and health on several levels.  The steps of this practice are listed below:

1      Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and fairly loose, comfortable clothing.  Stand on a flat surface, indoors or outside.  If practicing out of doors, the temperature should be comfortable, and not windy or rainy.  The air should be relatively clean and it would be ideal to do this exercise standing on earth or grass, near trees.

2     Feet are shoulder width apart, with toes pointing forward or slightly outward.  Knees are slightly bent.  Initially, arms hand loosely at the sides, and shoulders are relaxed and slightly rounded.  Posture is straight, yet relaxed.  Pelvis is slightly tilted forward.  Eyes are slightly open, either gazing straight ahead, or down at your abdomen.  If a line were drawn through the top of your head, down through your body, ideally, it would exit through your perineum and touch the ground midway between the feet.

3     Breathing is from the abdomen, and very relaxed.  Mind is also relaxed, aware solely of practicing this exercise and expectant that it will help support health and vitality.

4     Jaw and tongue are relaxed.  Shoulders, elbows, wrists are relaxed, arms dangle at sides. 

5     Keeping feet in their same location and knees still bent, smoothly twist hips, torso and head to one side and then to the other side a total of twelve times to each side, first to the left, then to the right.

      The smooth twisting motion will also propel the arms and hands forward.  It will not be necessary to use muscles to move the arms and hands – relaxation and momentum will do this, as well as an intention about when and where the arms will move and the hands will land.

7     When twisting to the left, the right palm lightly slaps the front of chest, by the left shoulder.  At the same time, the left hand swings behind the back and the back of the left hand lightly slaps on or above the location of the right kidney.  When twisting to the right, the left palm lightly slaps the front of chest, by the right shoulder, and the right hand swings behind the back and lightly slaps on or above the location of the left kidney.

8     Continue in relaxed, perpetual motion until the body has twisted to the left, then to the right a total of twelve times each side. 

9     Afterward, the body stays centered; the hands are brought up just under the navel, one palm flat against the abdomen and the other hand covering the first placed hand.  Both palms face toward the body.

10  Count slowly to twelve, with eyes closed.  Then open the eyes and slowly enter back into the rest of life.  Practicing this every day will gradually lead to proficiency and noticeable benefits.  It can take up to three months before one or more benefits appear.  Urinary and/or respiratory systems may start functioning better, more ease may be found when handling stressful situations, the body may be more relaxed and comfortable, and the energy level may increase. 

This month’s offer: contact me free of charge with questions about this exercise.  Additionally, for a small fee, I will teach this and possibly other qi gong exercises in person, if the exercises are suitable for the individuals present.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

                                   Blog #39: Qi Gong = Energy Work

Energy work uses the mind to achieve something.  Since Qi Gong is generally geared to improving health, it can be thought of as energy work to improve one’s health.  This blog will teach a simple meditation with which can help lower blood pressure, slow heart rate and breathing, relax the body and mind, and aid digestion.  This meditation is done as follows:

First, sit or lie supine in a comfortable setting.  While still staying relaxed, make sure your spine is as straight as possible.  Take three deep breaths, a long inhale and exhale.  Then, smile with your eyes, and connect with a loving, happy feeling.  It is essential that you feel relaxed and positive when you do this meditation.  When you meditate and feel upsetting or negative emotions, even worry, you can push the negative emotion deeper inside you if you feel it when you are meditating, so be sure to bring in calm and happy feelings.  All feelings are transient, so it is absolutely possible to feel positive and calm during this meditation and then return to the concerns and challenges in your life when you have finished meditating. 

Next, close your eyes and direct your positive attention inside your body, specifically to your liver.  The liver is located under and below the right rib-cage.  After remaining there a few seconds, move your positive attention to your heart.  The heart is located higher than the liver, and just to the left of the sternum (breast bone).  After remaining there a few seconds, next move your positive attention to your pancreas and spleen.  Both of these organs are located on the left side of the abdomen.  The pancreas is a little below the heart, and the spleen is located behind and towards the bottom of the left rib-cage.  After remaining here for several seconds, move your positive attention next to your lungs. The lungs are located in the chest, to the right and left of the midline.  Remain there for several seconds, and then move your positive attention to the kidneys and adrenal glands.  The kidneys are located in the lower part of the back, to the right and left of midline, and the adrenals sit on top of the kidneys. 

You can go through this cycle several times or just end the meditation after one full cycle.  Make sure to always begin with the liver and end with the kidneys.  The five positions/sets of organs mentioned here correspond to the Five Elements in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  The Five Elements correspond not just to the internal organs, but also to the sensory organs, the seasons, flavors, scents, sounds, colors, and much more.  The five elements are covered in more detail in blog #6. 

This meditation can be done anywhere and at any time of day, though early morning is generally the best time, and a peaceful, safe location where you feel comfortable and will not be interrupted is the best location. 

This month’s offer:  contact me with any questions you have about this meditation.  If you want to learn about it in more detail, you can set up a session with me and bring along other people if you care to.  A small fee will apply.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

                                    Blog#38: Qi Gong to Help Correct Near-sightedness

                            Below is a modified version of a blog I wrote several years ago. 
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 often 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 a version 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.  After each movement in a set of three, and before each new type of movement, the head and neck are always returned to midline.  Head and neck move slowly, in a relaxed manner, and to their furthest possible range without causing significant discomfort.  A sensation of tightness is alright, as are sounds of popping or grinding, without pain.

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 exhaled 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 treatment of visual problems with TCM (using acupuncture and herbal therapy).  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 the relaxation which this exercise allows.  For this purpose, 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 at   You can reach the A.R.E., the organization which organizes and shares Edgar Cayce’s readings at   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.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

                                      Blog#37: Chinese Exercises for Health

The Chinese culture has developed many exercises which, if used regularly, correctly, and with positive expectations for improved health, can be helpful for many people.  The exercises I present in this blog are safe for everyone to use.  This month, I will share a simple walking exercise which combines erect posture, a positive attitude and a focused mind.  It can be used for a moment or almost all the time when walking.  People who practice yoga or tai chi regularly usually have excellent posture, and almost anyone else can too.  A few hints to improve posture, if improvement is needed are to stand and walk with shoulders relaxed, but not slouched forward, to avoid locking the knees when standing and walking, and to imagine that the top of the head is suspended from a string that reaches directly upward.  Generally, when posture is optimal or close to it, the body will feel lighter and more relaxed and energized than when posture is poor. 

Here is the very simple exercise:  while walking and maintaining good posture, place the mind on the soles of the feet and say the word “yes” silently in your mind.  Obviously, common sense tells us that there are situations in which this exercise would be distracting and even problematic.  Another thing:  the mind should be truly positive when thinking/saying the word “yes” and the focus on the soles of the feet should be unwavering. Of course, it is important to also be aware of one’s surroundings while walking.  If practicing all three together is too difficult, it will still be beneficial to practice any one or two of the three aspects of this qi gong exercise:  1. Good posture, 2. Thinking/saying the word “yes” with each step, and 3. Focusing the mind unwaveringly on the soles of both feet while walking.

Potential benefits of this exercise are many.  People usually find that they feel more sure-footed, they are more confident and optimistic, and walking becomes easier and sometimes almost effortless.  This exercise can be especially helpful while walking through ice and snow. 

This month’s offer:  as always, feel free to contact me with questions about this exercise.  In addition, I want to share the link below with you.    Either cut and paste the link to your browser or highlight it with your mouse and then right click to view and listen to a 13 – 14 minute You Tube video of two songs with art, photography, and acting as accompaniment.  This video, “Ovations for a Wise Man and a Fool”, was directed by Claudia Hommel.  Several of my nature photographs are included in the first song, “For a Tree”, written and sung by Elizabeth Doyle.  Claudia Hommel sang and directed the second piece, “Bravo for the Clown”.  Both women are world class cabaret singers.   And, incidentally, next month’s qi gong will be something I call “walking trees”.                                 


Friday, February 27, 2015

                      Blog #36: Some Questions about Qi Gong Answered

We just finished the seventh blog on Chiropractic, and now, I am going to share seven monthly blogs about Qi Gong.

Q:  What is Qi Gong anyway?
A:  Qi Gong includes many different types of exercises, some done standing, sitting, moving, or lying down, and all are geared to improving health and vitality by improving blood and energy circulation, calming the mind, and sometimes even helping internal organs function more effectively.
Q:  Can anyone do qi gong?
A:  Just about everyone can practice qi gong.  The more vital energy a person has and the more stable their mind is, the more benefit they will receive.  If a person is not able to focus their mind, they may not be able to benefit from qi gong.  It is also helpful if the person can stand and walk.
Q:  Is Qi Gong difficult to learn and practice?
A:  Most Qi Gong is fairly easy to learn and practice; there will be a period of several weeks or months during which skill is developed.  Eventually the person achieves competence in the exercise.  With greater competence come greater benefits.  The same is true for any type of exercise or discipline. 
Q:  Will this blog teach specific Qi Gong exercises?
A:  Yes, even this first blog will teach an exercise. 
This exercise can help some people fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly.  I say some, because if they are suffering from a serious illness, sleep apnea, asthma, PTSD, or some other problems, they may require additional help to solve sleep issues.  Hypnosis and self-hypnosis, improved nutrition, weight loss, and some life-style choices, such as not watching television or working on a computer within 2 hours of bedtime, may be necessary before a person achieves improved quality of sleep. 

Here is the exercise:
Lie supine (on your back) in bed, or wherever you intend to sleep right after this exercise.  Make sure you are comfortable and that all screens which can emit light and images and all equipment which can emit sounds are turned off.  Cell phones should be removed from the room.  Close your eyes and inhale deeply, starting from the soles of your feet, and bring the breath all the way up to your clavicles (collar bones).  Then exhale, sending the breath out, down your chest, abdomen, thighs, legs, and finally out through the soles of your feet.  As you breathe, you are relaxed.  When you inhale, your mouth is closed, and when you exhale, your lips are slightly parted and your teeth are very lightly touching.  Exhaling, make the sound heeee, or hseee.  The sound should be silent or almost silent, although you will feel it in your body.  Do this at least three times, and as many more times as you like.  Eventually, let yourself drift off to sleep. 

This blog’s offer:  feel free to email or call me with any questions about this exercise.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

               Blog#35:  Ways to Maximize Your Benefit from Chiropractic
Some people need regular chiropractic adjustments for years or even decades because they were born with structural anomalies, or have suffered injuries which resulted in long-term postural imbalances.  Most people need only a few weeks or months of chiropractic to help them regain health and function after an illness or injury.  Sometimes, when people are under severe stress, don’t get enough sleep, are exposed to environmental toxins, have poor diets, unknowingly suffer from food allergies, abuse substances such as cigarettes or alcohol, take many prescription drugs, or experience chronic depression and/or anxiety, chiropractic adjustments may not be as helpful as they could be.  Here are ten ways to help maximize your benefit from chiropractic adjusting.
1.     Take a walk in the woods at least once a week. 
2.     Sing a song or play a musical instrument every day.
3.     Before you fall asleep each night, think of at least ten people, situations, or things that you enjoy and that inspire you.
4.     Take the opportunity for one day a week to eat strictly vegan and organic, and drink at least 6 glasses of purified/filtered water on that day. 
5.     Fast from technology at least one day a week and instead read a real book, write in a journal, or get together with others and have a stimulating conversation which challenges your viewpoint and intellect.
6.     Explore something new at least once a week, such as a neighborhood where you have never been, an art gallery you have never visited, or a meeting of an organization about which you would like to learn more.  
7.     Practice a refreshing and fortifying type of daily exercise, such as yoga or qi gong.
8.      Engage in a creative form of expression, such as writing, painting, music, weaving, cooking, gardening, or re-decorating your home or workplace. 
9.     Find the most appropriate flower essence to support your healing process, calm your mind or lift your spirits.
10.  Take time daily to meditate or help yourself with self-hypnosis. 
You can sometimes enjoy several of these suggestions/resolutions simultaneously – i.e. meeting with a knitting or weaving group on a day when you are technology-free, taking a camping or boating trip with a person or persons whose company and intellect you enjoy, or even joining me some Sunday for the Nature Writing Group, which meets once a month at the North Park Village Nature Center in Chicago, at 5801 North Pulaski Road.   If this last idea interests you, the writing group’s next meeting is Sunday January 18th from 11 am until 1 pm.  We gather by the fireplace, share and critique writing, and walk through the nature preserve. 

This month’s offer:  contact me anytime to find out when the next Nature Writing Group will meet.  Also, consider contacting me for instructions in self-hypnosis, qi gong, or simple meditation.