The Wood Element: Anger

This is the first in a series of short videos exploring the connection between the Chinese Five Elements, the organ system in the Chinese Medicine philosophy and our emotions. I hope that you find it helpful to look at your emotions from a different perspective.

Please note that these were done as Facebook live so there is a little bit of chit chat and interaction at the beginning.

How Toxins Affect Your Health

Toxins courtesy freedigitalphotos.netThe world that we live in has becoming increasingly filled with a wide variety of toxins. From different pollutants in the air, to pesticides and other chemicals in our food and water, to unregulated chemicals in our personal care products, we are exposed to MANY toxins on a very regular basis.

Some of these toxins, like those pollutants in the air, we can do very little to control our exposure to but there are others that we do have more control over. In this post I’d like to share 3 simple tips on how to lessen your exposure to toxins on a daily basis. However, before diving into those strategies, I want to provide a short overview of WHY lessen your toxin exposure is critical for your health.

Right now, there are over 80,000 different chemicals used in North America that we are exposed to on a regular basis and according to the World Health Organization, it is believed that if we can eliminate exposure to 600 of the most dangerous environmental toxins, 90% of chronic and serious illness could be prevented! That is quite a large percentage of our serious health issues that are caused by toxins in our environment.

Exposure to toxins places a very heavy burden on our liver, which much convert fat soluble toxins into water soluble toxins so that they can be excreted from the body. Sometimes our liver detox pathways become compromised or the body can’t effectively convert the toxin from fat soluble into water soluble and it actually stays in an intermediary state, which is even more toxic to our bodies than the fat soluble version.

In addition, toxins in our bodies can create epigenetic changes, which means that they are altering how our genes are expressing. This can lead to a wide range of health issues, including developing cancer and many autoimmune diseases.

So now that you have a brief overview of the danger of toxins to your health, what can you do?

  1. Make sure you are consuming as much organic produce as possible. Conventionally grown produce has much pesticide residue left on in and organic produce is not sprayed with those same toxic pesticides. If you are on a budget, make sure that if you are buying celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale and collard greens, cherries, potatoes, imported grapes, and lettuce that at least those items are organic. Those are the worst fruits and vegetables to buy conventional.
  2. Be aware that just because you buy personal care products in the “natural” section or in a place like Whole Foods does not guarantee that the products are safe. The last law made to regulate chemicals in personal care products was in 1938 and only 11 chemicals are restricted from being placed in personal care products in the US, compared to over 1300 in the European Union. It is important to be very careful where you are choosing to buy products like lotions, face products, and cosmetics as our skin is our largest organ and we absorb many toxins from products we use on our skin. If you are looking for a company committed to safety in personal care products, I personally recommend Beautycounter because they have a commitment to never put 1500 chemicals that are unsafe or “questionable” in their products.”
  3. Use the Environmental Working Group website as a resource to look at whether the cleaning products, personal care products, and other products you are using in your home are actually safe. They are a non-profit organization committed to researching a wide variety of products for safety and helping educate the public about the impact of toxins.

If you have questions about any of this information, reach out to me. I’m happy to chat with you and share more information and strategies to also help your body to clear out any toxins that are currently bogging down your system!

Staying Sane and Healthy During the Holidays

holiday stressThe year has once again flown by and December is almost here. For many, this is one of the busiest and most stressful months of the year… Holiday shopping to do, more time with family (which has its own stress), and so many activities that only happen once a year. It can feel overwhelming to many of us.

In addition, for many of us, our diets change at this time and we eat more heavy rich foods or foods with lots of sugar in them, placing an extra toll on our bodies.

In this week’s blog post, I’d like to share a couple simple strategies to help keep you less stressed and stay healthy through January.

  1. Make sure you are still making time for downtime and relaxation. It can feel easy to be short on time and put rest and relaxation at the bottom of the “to do” list but if you are exhausted, irritable, or make yourself sick, how enjoyable will your holidays be? Even if you are just carving out 30 minutes to just breathe or take a walk in nature, it can be powerful and recharging to do that regularly.
  2. Set healthy boundaries for yourself. Don’t feel like you have to say “yes” to everything and everyone. If you are exhausted, sometimes you might just need to say “no, I can’t this time” and take some time to rest and relax. Also, be mindful of setting boundaries with people who are key triggers of stress (perhaps like certain family members). If you find yourself in a situation where you are getting upset, it is ok to excuse yourself.
  3. Keep up with drinking water. This is a time of year where we often overindulge in all sorts of things- alcohol, sugar, rich foods. By at least making sure you are drinking plenty of water (filtered if you can), you will be helping your body to keep up with clearing out the accumulation of toxins. The rule of thumb is you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. If that is too overwhelming, scale it back some but try and push yourself a bit.
  4. Try and overindulge just a little less. It can be easy to feel guilty about what we are choosing to eat at this time yet hard to stop ourselves when so surrounded by it. Perhaps try and just cut back some and then don’t beat up on yourself for what you do eat. Or if you really realize that things like sugar are not making your body healthy, try and look for healthy alternatives to some of your favorite treats.
  5. Find ways to boost your immune system. Stress, overindulging, sugar… all these things are likely going to bring your immune system down and increase the risk of getting sick. Try incorporating natural remedies like eating vitamin C rich foods, looking for natural remedies at your local health food store, and again taking time for relaxation as ways to help support your immune system.

If you feel like you could use a little extra TLC during this crazy time, now through December 15, I’m offering 15% off a stress reduction and immune system tune up session with me. Give me a call at 503-347-0258 or use the scheduling system below to book your appointment.


Self-Care in Difficult Days

self-care courtesy freedigitalphotos.netLast week was a doozy for so many of us. The results of the election in here the U.S. rocked many of us to the core and resulted in feeling a host of emotions, fears, and general overwhelm and ungroundedness.

For me personally, I woke up last Wednesday with a feeling like the world around me was suddenly different and I felt extremely off kilter. I spent most of that day just trying to process what I was feeling and there were numerous bouts of crying. As the week went on, I was still feeling off-kilter but was trying to move forward and find ways to get myself grounded again.

I have been hearing many people say that they are feeling the same way. Another thing I’ve been both feeling myself and hearing from others is that the self-care that we have been doing in the past might not be enough or the right thing for us right now. 

I feel it is important to share this all so that you know that you are not alone in feeling off-kilter, scared, overwhelmed, and out of sorts. You are not alone if you feel like you are doing your regular self-care and it just isn’t working for you.

If you are feeling any of these things, here are some suggestions for you based on my own experience and wisdom.

  1. You might need to increase the amount of self-care you are doing right now. While the amount you typically do might work in calmer times, right now, you might need to give it a boost.
  2. You might need to change up what you are doing for self-care. For example, if you typically take a relaxing bath, you might try instead moving your energy by going for a walk outside. Try different things and see what helps!
  3. I would recommend considering taking a break from social media and the news on occasion. I personally felt myself feeling more and more activated and ungrounded last week as I kept reading about the increase in hate crimes, seeing the protests in Portland turn into violence, and seeing people making nasty comments to each other on Facebook. For that reason, I stayed off social media and the internet for most of the weekend last weekend. You might not need a complete break but maybe just consider limiting how much time you are spending reading news.
  4. If you don’t know how to tap cortices, learn how to now! This simple self-tapping technique just takes a few minutes but is a powerful way to rebalance your brain and reduce stress. You can use it as much as you need! Learn how here.

Those are just some very simple and practice suggestions that I have to help you get back into your body right now if you are feeling overwhelmed or ungrounded.

If those things don’t seem enough, I’d encourage you to seek support from me or from someone else who you feel called to work with. I’ve been seeing the election come up as a trauma for every client I’ve seen in the past week and I can help you process the trauma through the power of BodyTalk. I personally had to get some support around these from other practitioners so I can speak to the fact that this might be necessary- and it helps!

I have another group session coming up on November 30 to help support us all in coming together and healing in these challenging times.

Also if you are feeling like you’d like some extra one-on-one support right now, I’d love to offer you 10% off a session with me now through the end of November. Just mention this blog post when you come in!

 

 

Hope in Dark Times

Love Trumps HateThe sun is shining on this fall morning in Portland and I decided I needed to start my day with a walk outside, rather than heading to the gym. I need to breathe the fresh air and be supported by Mother Nature’s light.

The past few days for me, like for so many others, have been filled with a feeling of dismay, grief, sadness, frustration, anger, and fear. Living in what feels like a bit of a bubble in a progressive place like Portland, it is hard to believe the reality that we are now confronted with. A world where hate, racism, misogyny, and violence have come more fully out of the shadows and are now given legitimacy by the man who is president elect. Just this morning I saw reports of how high school students who are minorities are being targeted by fellow classmates and I am sickened.

To be honest, Tuesday night, I wanted to leave this country. I was saddened, angered, and dismayed that so many people could vote for a man I see as a hateful monster. My husband and I were talking about how to move to Canada… probably along with many other people.

What I have come to see in the past day is that I feel like doing so is running away and leaving those most vulnerable, minorities, people of color, the poor, and the LGBTQ community to fend for themselves when they will need us to stand with them and stand up for justice and their rights.

Before I began my path to this healing work that is now my life’s work, I was a student of history. I have an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in history and was well on my way to my PhD. I think many of us, looking at the history of Nazi Germany, can wonder how that was possible. How someone could come to power espousing such hate. I see the reality of it happening around us now… But the difference is that we have the lessons of history and we have all of the amazing work that Civil Rights activists who went before us have done. We can know the possibilities of what could happen AND we can know that saying “Its not my problem… I’m not black, Hispanic, gay, etc” is what people did in Nazi Germany. We cannot let history repeat itself.

I feel a deep and stirring passion in myself this morning to be part of those standing up and saying “No! You cannot take away the rights, dignity, and safety of those around me who are at risk!” I ask you to stand with me, to start the healing of our country’s deep legacy or racism, bigotry, and misogyny and stand up and say no.

In the midst of so much hate and fear, I have seen people banding together to stand up and fight for what they believe in and to protect and support the most vulnerable among us. This is what I choose to focus on. There is hope even in this dark time.

I plan to offer group healing sessions on a regular basis to support those of us who are being traumatized by what is going on, those who might be being victimized, and those who are ready to stand up with me and say NO! Last night, in seeing the ACLU standing ready to fight for our rights and liberties, I felt that I need to contribute. So for each of these group healing sessions that I offer, part of the money given to me will be donated to the ACLU.

Love trumps hate… Always. We will stand in love and we will win.

Our 3 Brains: Head, Heart, and Gut

Recent scientific research is beginning to form a new understanding of our brains and our bodies and is revealing that we don’t just have 1 brain but 3 brains! This knowledge was actually something that certain Eastern traditions (like Ayurvedic and yogic traditions) were aware of but Western scientific understanding is finally catching up.

So what are the 3 brains and what do they do?

3 brains courtesy freedigitalphotos.netThe first brain is the one that we have always thought about- the one in our head. This brain is in charge of thinking, cognition, and perception. It helps us to make meaning out of things and masters our communication in language.

Our second brain is located in the heart. This is our emotional brain and it is also connected to what we value in life.

Our third brain is in our gut. This brain is all about our core identity- what is us and what is not us. The gut brain is also important for protection as it has many key immune functions.

The average brain (in the head) has around 100 million neurons but the gut  has around 500 million nerve cells and 100 million neurons and is almost the same size as a cat’s brain! Our gut brains are also responsible for producing around 95% of the body’s serotonin, the “happiness hormone.”

The way that these 3 brains communicate with each other is through the vagus nerve. What is fascinating is that research shows that the majority of information flows up the vagus nerve to the head brain rather than down to the other two brains!

Anil Rayvanshi writes, “Recent studies have shown that heart sends signals to the brain that are not only understood by it but also obeyed. Scientists have discovered neural pathways and mechanisms whereby input from heart to brain inhibits or facilitates brain’s electrical activity – just like what gut is capable of doing. Thus both gut and heart mind help in overall thought process.”

So how can you utilize all 3 brains more effectively?

One basic way to work with integrating and synchronizing all 3 brains is through the Cortices Technique, a simple self-tapping technique that you can learn more about here. 

Another way to utilize all 3 brains is to be more aware of their different roles. For example, allow the heart to express its emotional intelligence and wisdom by listening to it, rather than shutting down your feelings. With the gut brain, taking good physical care of your digestive system through eating healthy foods and using strategies to heal your gut can help optimize the gut brain.

BodyTalk is also a healing system that is focused on all 3 of these brains and getting them to communicate with each other more effectively. By receiving a BodyTalk session for a practitioner, your 3 brains can be optimized, synchronized and balanced to work more effectively. Learn more about BodyTalk by reading about it here.