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Burdock Summer Cleanse

Burdock Summer Cleanse is a decongesting, heat clearing, detoxifying beverage that clears heat and dampness toxins (Pitta and Ama in Ayurve...

Friday, September 02, 2016

Fantastic news from the FDA. Finally banning toxic antibacterial hand cleaners.

FDA Bans Antibacterial Soaps

Just use soap and water. I love Greek olive oil soap, it is all natural, only three ingredients, olive oil, alkalai, and salt; smells great, and lathers well.

I use it on hands, body, even my hair. Some people find it a little drying, then use less and use a moisturizer afterwards....

Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Twelve Ways to Heal Eczema With Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, and Ayurveda

From my recent article on my website, learn how to treat Eczema with an Holistic approach using Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda safely, naturally, and effectively.


Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Diet and Lifestyle in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine

One of my favorite sayings in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda is, 

"You cannot cure with a pill, what you have created with a diet and lifestyle."

Let's be clear, the word pill here includes both drugs and herbal medicines. Herbal medicines are drugs. They are not diet or lifestyle. 
Yes,  Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal medicines have far fewer and milder side affects that Biomed drugs, and, as in the case of the Chinese tonic herbs like Reishi or Cordyceps, and the Ayurvedic Rasayanas, like Triphala, are promotive of health and longevity. Plant, mineral, and animal based medicinea are our natural allies. Its normal to use them to treat disease and promote health. Even dogs and cats eat grass to promote good digestion or to provoke vomiting of fur balls and other undesired matter. 

On the other hand there is no such thing as a Biomedicine drug that promotes health, because  Western medicine's specialty and blind spot both is that it treats disease, but does not prevent it. And second, because all Western drugs, without exception, have pernicious side affects, something M.D.s tend to be in denial about, from the Liver toxicity of statins for high cholesterol to the erectile dysfunction of  drugs that lower blood pressure.

So while it is true that using Chinese and Ayurvedic Herbal Medicines to treat disease and promote health and wellness are part of a healthy lifestyle, they are not themselves the healthy lifestyle. A health promoting lifestyle begins with what and also how you eat and what and how you think and feel and act. It includes your daily and seasonal routines...

...everything from whether you let your long black hair dry after a shower before going out into the cold (I had a patient whose asthma got much better when she began listening to her grandmother on that one) to do you rush everywhere as if there were an emergency, needlessly raising your heart rate and blood pressure. 

There are things you cannot always control, like having to commute two hours each day to work, but what you can control is,  if you do have that unpleasant task, do you stress out while commuting or use the time fruitfully by doing "driving mindfulness meditation." (See this book on How to do Mindfulness Meditation. So, what is now called stress management, what Asians call Mental Culture, is a big, maybe the single biggest, aspect of a healthy lifestyle in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

Healthy Digestion: Mental Attitude. Joe: A Case Study 

While a healthy diet is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet is more than just the food you eat, but how you eat it. I know someone, let's call him Joe,  whose wife is a wonderful cook, who makes very healthy food, yet he has constant digestive issues. Honestly, I don't enjoy meals at their table. Because Joe is is so stressed out about what food is good for you and what is bad, he is such a control freak about watching what other folk are eating, (to make sure they don't eat too much of something that is bad for you, like a sweet food, for example,  and on top of it all, he gobbles down his food in a rather unpleasant, hurried fashion. 

So in his case, the digestive issue is a lifestyle problem, not a diet problem. Nothing about his diet itself could be corrected to solve his problems of heartburn and gas. A person of that type has a lot of fear based emotional stuff that gets projected onto food and that is dealt with, a bit pathologically, by trying to exert control where control is neither useful, nor necessary. This is so very common. Food is some deep stuff. A lot of us also grew up with family meal times that were stressful because of the dynamics between Mom and Dad. There are million variations on that theme. Overcontrolling military type Dad who made dinner very regimented. Smothering Mom who over fed. There are a million stories.

What would Joe want to do to correct his digestive issue by lifestyle medicine? First and foremost, in his case, Joe has to tackle the emotional, psychological component. Joe  would want to learn how to relax when he is not at meal time, so that he could bring that lesson to the table. He would really benefit from mindfulness meditation so that he could develop the skill of being comfortable with what he is uncomfortable with, so that he could begin observing how fearful he is around food and how tense he feels at the dinner table. 

Then Joe would be able to respond to that fear and intensity with courage and softness, or should I say courageous strong softness, and sit with the fear and anger with soft, gentle, non-judging awareness, grounding in mindfulness of breath. When you do that things start to shift and change. Fear, anxiety, anger, intensity soften and become less overwhelming, they have less influence and less power.

Basics of Healthy Digestive Lifestyle in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine 

Organize You Meals So You Are:
  • Relaxed when eating. 
  • Give enough time for your meal
  • Stop eating when 3/4 full
  • Eat at the right times of day for your bodymind type (dosha)
  • Eat in accordance with the Seasons

Here are some simple guidelines for Health Digestive Lifestyle

  • Eat Silently, or While Listening to Enjoyable Music
  • Don't eat at your computer or desk or watching the news
  • Place less food on your plate so you don't overeat
  • Set aside enough time for a meal
  • Chew Your Food
  • Don't eat late at night.
  • Match your diet to your Ayurvedic dosha--Vatta needs snacking and small meals. Pitta may need larger meals. Kapha needs light food.
  • Match your diet to the season: Warming Foods in Winter, Grounding Foods in Autumn, Cooling in Summer, Cleansing in Spring
Healthy Lifestyle in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine also includes matching exercise to your body mind type and to the season. And it includes how you deal with your emotions and stress as well, as in the case of Joe, above.

Healthy Lifestyle vs. Health from a Pill

Which leads to the following point. It is a bit duplicitous the way Health Food Stores and Vitamin Companies market health substances like Reservatol (the active ingredient in Red Wine)  based on incomplete, limited, science based research. For example,  a researcher describes that people who live in the Red Wine drinking Mediterranean basin, areas like Sicily and Sardinia have less heart disease.

They immediately want to isolate, which is what Western Science is good at, the "active" ingredient in something that should account for these positive findings. The problem is, that, for one thing, even if, which is a huge if, there was a benefit to drinking red wine that was a function of the "active" ingredient in red wine, there is zero research that shows a positive long term result for the consumption of red wine outside of the cultural and social context of Sicily and Sardinia, and there is even less research that demonstrates any benefit to taking Reservatol in pill form, unless you count the money the "nutritional" supplement company is raking in.

The sceintists that try to reduce an entire lifestyle to a single drug-like nutritional pill miss the forest for the trees, and along with the drug companies that finance their research, and the health food industry that exploits on it, reduce health to a commodity: as if health could come out of a bottle. Take this drug or take this health food store product like red wine capsule, to prevent heart disease, when in fact there is zero evidence that taking red wine extract reservatol does anything at all,because the studies of each and every case of unusual health and longevity in the rural Mediterrenean and probably anywhere else in the world world show that aside from the food eaten, there are key lifestyle characteristics in common.

Healthy Lifestyle: Are You a Human Being or a Human Doing

Studies of people living in Southern Europe in places like Sardinia, Sicily, and Greece, with low levels of heart disease show there is much more going on than the consumption of red wine.

1) lots of natural exercise in the fresh air like walking and gardening; not extremes like marathons or triathalons

2) fresh food with lots of variety including flesh foods, dairy products,  whole grains,  locally grown vegetables and fruit in season, and usually red wine or small amounts of hard alcohol like the cretan tsoukodia or italian grappa.

3) warm loving relationships with family values and extended friend groups that people sit on their butts with in cafes doing nothing with but talking, and drinking espresso. Another words, an unhurried sense of community.

4) living with animals and experiencing quiet and  darkness at night

Modern Diseases Are Diseases of Speed and Rushing

A very significant aspect of a Healthy Lifestyle common to all the societies in which people live long healthy lives is the fact that they don't rush. People take their time. They stroll. If you just leave the USA and come back you will immediatedly notice how funny we look rushing around like there is an emergency, when in fact we are just walking to the car to go to the store. And rushing puts your nervous system into the fight or flight response, which puts in motion, no pun intended, a whole cascade of negative physiological, biochemical, and hormonal events that lead to high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Remember, cancer is your cells gone crazy with chaotic over-replication. 

We Americans are, frankly, a bit crazy. We make everything, every small thing, into an emergency. We are impatient and easily frustrated. People rush from here to there, mostly there, and are so often not here. And it leads to a lot of unnecessary stress, irritability, anxiety, and, key point--high blood pressure. Very very bad for the heart.

You sit down to eat lunch and your thinking about  what you have to do later, rather than on how delicious the food is. The American business lunch meeting-- it is a horrible idea for digestion. High stakes important stressful negotiations while taking food?

The USA coined the phrase, "time is money," Only its not. Time is actually an imaginative construct. For Hindus and Latins time is a very different thing. You might say for Hindus it does not exist and for Latins its an elastic concept. 

Point being that in USA even time is commodified. And if you want a healthy lifestyle within the belly of a society whose structures specialize in creating illness, as opposed to those Mediterranean villages with low rates of heart disease and cancer, it takes some work. The diseases of modern living are disease of speed. The remedy is consciously slowing down, taking it easy, learning to relax, and having a regular meditation practice as part of your mental hygiene, as part of your healthy lifestyle

Healing is a process, and not a pill, is another favorite saying of mine. And there it is. 

Look at this article from today's Guardian about lifestyle. 

Alan Maisel, a researcher from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said Acciaroli residents lived long lives despite some unhealthy habits and tendencies, including smoking and obesity. He said the elderly residents ate a lot of rosemary and oily fish, walked on hilly terrain and had active sex lives.
The thing is, no one can make any money selling the idea of walking on hilly terrain, or having an active sex life. Even the rosemary and oily fish, while great, (I certainly urge people to use lots of herbs which are full of digestive enzymes and anti-oxidants, and to eat plenty of oily fish, too) cannot be taken out of the context of the lifestyle people in this beautiful seacoast village in Sardinia have...

So is it the walking alone? Is it the rosemary and fish alone? Is it the sex life? Is it the sense of community and belonging? Is it the fresh vegetables and fruit?   Or is it the combination of all of the above.....

That is what Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda mean by Diet and Lifestyle, and its the totality that we need to cultivate, including and especially for us Americans, the management of how we respond to stressors....

Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA July 2016 All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Kitchen Medicine Cooking Medicine: Burdock Summer Cleanse

Kitchen Medicine Cooking Medicine: Burdock Summer Cleanse: Burdock Summer Cleanse is a decongesting, heat clearing, detoxifying beverage that clears heat and dampness toxins (Pitta and Ama in Ayurve...

Eopyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With PermissionAyurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diegohttp://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Burdock Summer Cleanse

Burdock Summer Cleanse is a decongesting, heat clearing, detoxifying beverage that clears heat and dampness toxins (Pitta and Ama in Ayurveda) from the body, while at the same time protecting Agni digestive fire.
It is excellent for as a general seasonal cleanse, for weight loss, acne, eczema, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis, hives, poison oak and ivy.
In reviewing this post today from my website from a few years back, about my Burdock Summer Cleanse beverage, it became apparent why the version I made yesterday tasted spicier than the one I usually make. The reason why was there was more parsley, ginger, and celery compared to burdock and water than usual. Which is what I wanted, as I have been eating a bit too much heavy food of late.

I mention this because I encounter people all the time that do everything from a recipe. Its almost as if not having a recipe makes them nervous or anxious.

The beauty in making things your own, whether its exercise, cooking, artwork, using herbal medicines, is that when you learn to do things from inside yourself, when you internalize the process from experience, rather than from recipes, things come out differently each time, and beautifully so.  Every moment is unique. The exact opposite of mass production where each BigMac is identical, but of questionable nutritive and aesthetic value in the first place.

I was lucky enough to learn how to cook Indian food from my friend's wives and mothers, in both India and USA. Indian food is so complex, yet none of these women ever pulled out a recipe. Always from the head, and, key point, according to the mood of the moment, like improvised music based on classical training.

So when you cook, even if you first learn from a recipe, as we all did at some point, even if the recipe was memorized without notes from observing your mother or father, be free, improvise, within the bounds of taste and reason, which is, of course, very subjective, but just remember, if cooking for a medical purpose, stick to improvisations that respect the logic of the starting point.

This is the recipe for what I made yesterday

Burdock Summer Cleanse Beverage

2 quarts water
1 bunch flat Italian parsley
1 medium carrot
4 celery stalks with leaves
2 tbsp dried burdock root
1 tbsp sliced ginger root

Bring to the boil, and simmer for 45 minute on low, adding water as you go so the end product is 2 quarts of beverage. When done, pour out the contents, and add 2 quarts water again, bring to a boil and simmer. You can now get a 2nd more dilute version of the beverage.

You can add 1 chopped beet root if you want to make your drink sweeter and spicier, and beets are a rich source of potassium and magnesium, very good summer minerals as potassium is lost by sweating, and magnesium is food for the muscles.

Why Cleanse in Summer?

Summer is NOT the typical time to cleanse the body strongly. Spring is. So I don't imply you should fast on this beverage. But on the other hand we can often overindulge in high fat high sugar treats in summer like ice cream, ice coffee, ice tea, frozen yogurt, that clog the shrotas and nadis (tissues and channels) and weaken the gut. We may also over eat cold energy fruit and heavy foods like barbeque.

A simple remeedy is to start your day in summer with a cup of this beverage instead of tea or coffee, and drink between meals instead of snacking. Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine are not in favor of radical cleanses, so this is a very gentle, seasonally appropriate way to clear pathological heat that develops from overeating sugar and heavy foods and from the summer season, decongest, and detoxify dampness and Ama/toxins from the gut and cells.

As such it is excellent for weight loss and acne. If you are a cold type who is overweight, you can add some black pepper or long pepper to your version and more ginger.

Add Salt If Using As Your Exercise Beverage

If its hot and you are exercising heavily and sweating, make this with a dash of sea salt or more. Otherwise, make it saltless, especially if you have blood pressure issues.

Burdock Root for Skin Disorders

Burdock root which clears heat and toxins from the body is both a food grade general cleanser safe for anyone, but its also used in Chinese Medicine as Kitchen Medicine for acne, eczema, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis, hives, and poison oak and ivy.

But, if you are using this Burdock summer cleanse for heat type skin issues like hives, eczema, or poison oak,  especially if there is itching, then drop the ginger reduce the parsley and increase the burdock as follows:

Burdock Beverage for Itchy Hot Skin Disorders 

4 quarts water
1 cup burdock
2 large carrots
1 celery stalk
1/2 bunch parsley
1 tbsp Job's Tears barley

Yi Yi Ren, Hatcho Mugi, or Job's Tears Barley for Skin Disorders

An excellent ingredient to add to this for eczema, acne, and hives, is job's tears barley, called Yi Yi Ren in Chinese Medicine, which is historically used for hot weather, heat stroke, for acne, and for detoxifying the skin in diseases like eczema acne and hives.  And unlike regular barley, Job's tears appears to be gluten free.

Daikon Radish for Acne with Digestive Congestion

If you have acne, and a thick coating on your tongue, then stick to the first recipe above and try adding 1 tbsp daikon radish and 1 tbsp Job's Tears barley. Acne is to due heat in the stomach that develops when there is food stagnation. Radish is a wonderful vegetable that stimulates digestive fire. Why raw radish is served in Japan with sashimi which is cold and raw.

Even though acne is a heat disorder, when we move the Qi in the gut it helps the heat clear up.

Where to Buy Burdock

Fresh burdock is sold in East Asian markets and some health food stores. Dried burdock is available on line here, and for beverage purposes is just as good as fresh.

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA July 2016 All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tai Qi for Arthritis Related Knee Pain

Tai Qi Chuan, also known as Tai Qi, is a slow, rhythmic, non-forceful exercise system from China, that is based on the same philosphy as Chinese Medicine with its ideas of Yin, Yang, and Qi.

Tai Qi is an excellent exercise system for anyone from youth to old age, but is especially good for older people who tend to develop balance problems with age. That is because Tai Qi requires you to continually shift your body's weight from right to left and back to forward.

That is also why Tai Qi is good for developing knee strength. When I studied the Yang family style Tai Qi system as part of my Chinese Medical training, I noticed that the senior practitioners had knees and thighs like professional soccer players. This is because of all the natural isometric contractions and lifting that takes place in the basic Tai Qi bow and horse stances.

Tai Chi is also, in its slow, meditative forms, really good for calming the spirit (mind), as as such is excellent for sleep disorders. Its also very very good for any kind of muscular pain due to tightness of muscles and fascia, and in that regard dovetails really well with Feldenkrais technique. And its valuable for building Qi energy.

Recently a nice article in the Harvard Health letter has detailed evidence based research on how Tai Qi May Be As Good As Physical Therapy for Arthritis Related Knee Pain.

One word to the wise. Do not listen to ANY Tai Qi expert, no matter how experienced, who tries to force you into a deep, low stance that hurts your knees. If your knees hurt; stop!

I have known so many people who have injured their knees doing Tai Qi the wrong way, or who were pushed to over do it by teachers who themselves were lucky enough to be naturally flexible and without pain.

Everyone's body is different. So go at your own pace, and don't overdo it, especially in the beginning.

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Friday, April 22, 2016

Is Marijuana a Harmless Natural Drug?

Is Marijuana a Harmless Natural Drug?

I post here an article by an M.D. who is also a genuine (he has truly studied, not just a one year fast course at USC) and very well respected Acupuncturist on the topic of Marijuana and Apathy. While Marijuana does not kill everyone's enthusiasm, it does have the effect of destroying motivation in some people.

My brother in law, who has an MBA from Yale and is a very successful business consultant and, what we would call a Liver type in Chinese Medicine and a Pitta dosha type in Ayurveda, is a weekend smoker. It helps him get the edge off of his hard driving controlling personality type. He is not the poster boy for the kid whose marijuana use damages his motivation.

I have observed that the kids at risk for this are one's who are either Vatta or Kapha dosha types: people who deal with risk, conflict, and stress not by dominating and triumphing, but by by running away and hiding or by freezing in the corner, Vatta or Kapha. If these folk are exposed to this drug when they have poor familial support systems, then it will often do a lot of damage.

This is not addressing the issue of Marijuana use for chronic pain or serious disease. That is another issue, and I am pretty sure in many of those cases it is a very good drug, especially when compared to the biomed drugs and all their deleterious side affects.

In any case Dr. Hammer's article is worth a read. 

 In my Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda practice I have definitely seen people with Kapha and Tamas elevation from habitual marijuana abuse, daily pot smokers who use the mind altering effect to deal with conflict by  fleeing or freezing in the flight-fight-freeze nervous system response that correlates to Vata-Pitta-Kapha dosha in Ayurvedic medicine, the equivalent to having 4 beers and sitting on the couch before the T.V. until you doze off. 

On the other hand I have seen people who use it on occasion to deal with blips in their Qi causing mild insomnia and tension headache. And then there are the type Liver types with excess Pitta that smoke pot to mellow out and stop fighting when they dont need to fight.. In the end whatever mind expansion/chage one get's from a drug, even a natural drug, whether its pot or Xiao Chai Hu Tang or  An Shen Wan, doesnt come close to what the chemicals in your own body/brain make when you have a regular Mindfulness meditation or Tai Qi or Yoga practice. 

If you deal with your stress with marijuana, there is no judgment, but you are, in the end not dealing, you are medicating. We can all benefit from observing the difference between stressors and the stress response and dealing with our maladaptive stress response with a drug vs. a healthy lifestyle.

Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Some Foods Not As Healthy As You Might Think

 Very good list of some of the so called "healthy food" frauds from Web MD. Web MD Slide Show of Foods that are not as "healthy" as you might think

In Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine both healthy food is food that is fresh and alive with prana. That means freshly grown and freshly cooked. So, for example, a microwaved frozen organic vegan meal is still, alas, a frozen microwaved meal that lacks any of the energy of freshly cooked food. Miso soup out of a packet is not miso soup, I am pretty positive it lacks the qualities fresh miso has. Its the miso equivalent of freeze dried coffee, isn't it. The list goes on.

Want a healthy diet? Take the time to cook. If you don't have the time to cook, then at least be honest with yourself and accept what you are sacrificing. Life is full of choices, and choosing food that was prepared in an industrial kitchen a week ago, or from the freezer, or  from restaurants that is so often very high in salt and fat is what it is.  Let's just be honest about it. There is also that self nurturing aspect of cooking as well.

Then there are the alleged health foods, like granola bars--full of sugar and fat; granola itself, full of sugar and fat and very undigestable since oats are a grain and grains need to be boiled in water,  frozen yogurt, full of sugar, the list goes on.

The other issue is miracle foods. A healthy diet is an overall diet, not a single miracle food. Health is a complex interplay of mind and body, and it doesnt come out of bottle or from any one single thing.

Goji berries, for example, are great food. We use them in Chinese Medicine as an essence/jing tonic, and for eyesight problems. But they are not a miracle. They are simply good for you. Just as good as cabbage, which no one promotes b/c there is no buck to be made...

So beware of the marketing, whether its the tobacco company or Whole Foods Market. And enjoy your food. Its meant to be pleasurable.


 Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Anger and Fear: How Our Nervous Systems Make Us Sick

Anger and Fear: How Our Nervous Systems Make Us Sick

Reprinted from http://bodymindwellnesscenter.com/anger-and-fear-how-our-nervous-systems-make-us-sick/

In both Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda disease is seen as often the perfect storm of a combination of disease causing factors. The factors out of our control are our genetic inheritance, infectious agents we cannot avoid, even the noise and light pollution our societies have created, without regard for natural biorhythms.

What we can control are our diets and lifestyles, and here, lifestyle include what Buddhism calls Mental Culture, which includes everything we do to promote mental health, ease, and wisdom.

Western culture, especially in the USA is very focused on success, material pleasure, consumerism, and the acquisation of wealth necessary to enjoy such things.

In various culture of the East, the development of wisdom and ease were also prioritized and valued, alongside the need for money to survive, or to be wealthy. In fact, in Tamil, the language spoken in the part of India in which I spent the better part of three years, the way you ask someone "how are you" or "how have you been" is "Soukyama?" which translates literally as, "Are you at ease?" And this word for ease, or comfort, Soukya, in Sansrkit refers to a state of harmony in your mind, spirit, and body, such as occurs with a state of inner peace.

The problem for many of us in the west is that we dont put the energy into achieving such a state, and, thanks to the way our bodyminds work, how our nervous systems and endocrine systems work, we are designed to not be at ease, but rather to be alert to signs of danger, just as dogs are. Dogs bark at an unexpected sound. Cats run at the sight of danger. This is the fight or flight response that we share with all animals.

The problem for humans is that in civilized society we often have to repress our consciousness of our physical emotional state. The dog barks, his hair stands on end, and then after the danger passes she goes back to sniffing bushes and trees and thinking about food or getting affection.  The cat runs away in terror from the sight of a dog, but once free and safe, goes back to her meditations on catness.

But O! us human beings. Our problem is that in polite civilized society we can't bark back at our unfair mean boss if we have one, we can't just suddenly jump up and down in the soap aisle at whole foods yelling, "I'm excited!...." and all too many of us feel the need to "keep it together" when our Mom dies rather than spend a week grieving.  Another words we don't experience emotions in our bodies even though our bodies keep score for us.

It says in Chinese medicine that "Fear Makes the Qi Descend." What is Qi in this case? Its the physiological processes of the body, one of which is urination, the other defecation. If someone, God forbid, put a gun to your head, you might pee in your pants, or even poo in your pants. Its how our nervous systems are hard-wired. If a mountain lion suddenly appeared in the room and you were on the ground floor you might jump through the window to escape. When I saw a rattle snake staring me in the face with its rattle shaking at the Grand Canyon I jumped backwards literally 10 feet. I can't normally do that. Intense survival instinct based on fear communicated by my eyes and ears to my endocrine system caused a rush of adrenalin secretion that mobilized my Qi downwards into my legs to save my life. Fear makes the Qi descend.

But what happens when Fear is much more psychologically complex. My mother did not love me and constantly told me I would be a failure, both implicitly and explicitly. Now I am a famous stage actor with such terrible stage fright I get diarrhea every night before going on. Or my boss is a bully and I am worried I will be fired, but cant admit it to myself that i am worried. A million scenarios exist. Especially when the fear is there and we don't allow ourselves to feel it. Or when, for example, you are the children of divorced parents and you feel insecure and have weak "Kidney Qi" to start with and start wetting the bed, but instead of your parents being emotionally intelligent enough to look at emotional factors, just get an alarm clock device triggered by the wet bed.

This is the mechanism by which people develop chronic functional disorders of the urinary tract such as interstitial cystitis, frequent urination, bedwetting, and even certain chronic prostate inflammation. These disorders are most often seen in people who suffer from anxious personality types, and sometimes full-on anxiety disorders. There are other factors, too, but fear and anxiety are frequent. The same is true of chronic diarrhea and some types of irritable bowel syndrome.

Chinese Medicine says that "Anger Makes the Qi Rise." This corresponds to the fight aspect of the fight or flight response. In order to fight we have to mobilize our resources to our faces, neck, shoulders, arms. We make fists. Our faces scrunch up when we are angry. We clench our jaws. The problem again is, that while the dog goes back to sniffing after the fight is over, we don't. We carry grudges. We think about stuff at age 50 that happened when we were 10 years old and are still angry and are often left in a situation where small things trigger big anger response. Or the anger is totally repressed and we let people push us to do things we dont want to do because we are people pleasers, but underneath are angry and frustrated and end up with headaches. Chronic headaches almost always have anger and intensity as a chief causative factor. Anger drives us to drink because alcohol is sweet and a muscle relaxer. Three martini lunch. 

Many of us end up suffering from somatic expressions of our emotional experiences, in which our body speaks for our mental-emotional state. Our bodies keep the score. The body and mind are not on a continuim, rather, they are one and the same. Everything we think see or feel affects our nervous system and endocrine system immediately via the fight flight freeze response.

The best remedy for this problem, the best way to learn control of this natural physiological process is through Mindfulness meditation and Dr. Jeffrey Brantly's books, Calming Your Angry Mind , and Calming Your Anxious Mind are the books I recommend very very highly to all of my patients who I treat for Anxiety, Fear, Anger, and Depression with Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda in my San Diego Acupuncture and Ayurveda practice.

Dr. B is by far the best explainer in print of Mindfulness Meditation stripped of any of the Buddist dogma that follows other teachers. Which means anyone, regardless of religious belief system can use these books. Good Luck!

Eyton Shalom http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com San Diego, CA

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA February 2016 All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Indian Style Tri-doshic Okra Masala for Chronic Constipation

Cooked Okra pacifies all 3 dosha in Ayurveda, but in this recipe, it especially pacifies Vata, and is an excellent food remedy for chronic constipation and dry hard stools.

It can be adjusted to each of the doshas by altering the ingredients very slightly.

Want to know how to cook Okra without it coming out a slimy mess?

All this and more in my latest article on my website blog article

Indian Style Tri-doshic Okra Masala

Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com