Spring Equinox and your body…

In an era where most of us work behind a computer and indoor, the contact with nature seems to be more and more needed.

We often dismiss how the body respond to seasons. In fact each season has a purpose for the earth but also for us and it has a rhythm.

The rhythm of Spring is New Growth. If you think about it for a second: it makes sense. Nature is slowly coming back from 3 months of hibernation and we finally sees the grass getting back to a nice green color. The Trees and flowers are starting to bloom. And like them, we are starting to blossom.

The energy of spring or wood-element is reminiscent of the seedling you might see bursting forth through a rock in the springtime. It is solid within its space. Spring’s rhythm embodies the power and insistence of new life. Earth becomes warm, and the hours of light begin to outnumber the hours of darkness.

Energetically spring is a good time for cleansing not only your body but your house :). Some Chinese therapists recommend a period of semi-fasts with only fruit and vegetable juices at this time of year.

Eating is season is always a good thing. It is not a coincidence that different type of foods are growing at different time. The fruits and vegetables available for each season are here to provide us the nutrients we are needing during the season they grow in.

In Spring the weather tends to be changeable and so food needs to be neutral (rather than overly heating or cooling) to help the body cope with the sudden changes in climate. As well as seasonal foods, meals at this time of year can also be included:

  • beans: lentils, kidney beans, peas
  • grains: wheat, barley, oats, rye
  • season fruit and vegetables: carrots, celery, potatoes, early salad greens, asparagus and young vegetables, citrus fruits, sprouted seeds
  • if you eat meat: chicken, pork, duck and beef.

As for your house, decluttering and opening all the windows to let the fresh air is a good way to bring new and positive energy to your house. Don’t forget to do the same for yourself. Take the time to be in contact with nature, ride a bike, do a nice walk in a park or enjoy a nice break at a restaurant or coffee/tea shop’s patio. Enjoy Life!

The Art of Positive Thinking: Reach For The Good

Positive Thinking - Reach for the good

“There is good in life every day. 

Take a few minutes to distract yourself from your concerns – 

long enough to draw strength from a tree or to find pleasure in a bird’s song.

Return a smile;

realize that life is a series of levels,

cycles of ups and downs –

some easy, some challenging.

Through it all, you will learn;

you will grow strong in faith;

you will mature in understanding.

The difficult times are often the best teachers, and there is

good to be found in all situations.

Reach for the good.

Be positive, and don’t give up.”

– Pamela Owens Renfro

Love the surprising benefits of cupping

Cupping Therapy

           As a Holistic Health Practitioner it is always useful to have a variety of techniques and therapies in your healing tool box. One of my favorite techniques I utilize is Cupping Therapy. There are many health benefits to the patient, not to mention that five minutes of cupping is equal to thirty minutes of deep tissue massage.

During a typical massage session a therapist will push into a muscle to alleviate tensions in the body. It helps to think of Cupping Therapy as the reverse of regular massage. Using suction, cupping provides a gentle pulling (rather than pushing) on the muscles for a more complete release of fascia, nerves and adhesions. It may seem new, strange or trendy, seeing as it is now under celebrity endorsement. The truth is that this technique has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Traditional Maya Medicine* (TMM) for thousands of years. It is used by both cultures to disperse wind out of the body, improve blood stagnation and promote vital Qi flow.

The first types of cupping tools were made of bamboo, clay or animal horns; followed by the use of glass, plastic, rubber, and silicone. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is common to place many stationary cups on the body along various meridian points on the patient. Often these cups will stay in place for 15-30 min. Due to Qi, blood and tissue stagnation toxins are often brought to the surface of the skin resulting in a temporary skin discoloration where the cup was placed. This temporary reddish discoloration is not a bruise and is only a sign there has been diminished oxygen and blood supply to the tissue.

Another method involves always moving or running the cups on the body. It is commonly used in Traditional Maya Medicine and is the one I prefer to use in my holistic practice. To run the cups, massage oil is first applied to the skin, allowing for the cup to glide over the muscles and release adhesions. Running the cups also greatly reduces any chances for skin discoloration.

I was first introduced to Cupping Therapy in 2008 when I took a seminar on the different styles and applications for clinical use. After this seminar, I began to use the plastic stationary cups and silicone cups that could be moved on the body using oil. Although these methods had many benefits, the style never completely resonated with me. I had all but set aside Cupping Therapy from my healing practice. Little did I know that two years later I would fall in love with Cupping Therapy on a trip to Mexico. I was studying Traditional Maya Medicine from a well-known Traditional Healer named Rita Navarette Perez from Mexico City. She taught me the art of fire cupping, or Ventosas as it is known in TMM. I also had the honor of experiencing a personal fire cupping session from Rita and was amazed at how great I felt in such a short time.

Fire cupping is very safe when done by a trained practitioner. Furthermore, the addition of heat has a soothing effect to the nervous system. Why is this technique so effective? The cups are vertical or round glasses, similar to a regular drinking glass. In order to create a heat vacuum, a flame is placed in the glass very rapidly (1 sec.) then taken out and the glass is immediately placed on the body. The result is a gentle warming heat and mild suction of the skin into the glass. Oil is also used to be able to run (move) the cups on the body – getting a wide area of contracted and congested tissue to soften quickly. Let me tell you, this feels amazing!

Just beneath the skin are layers of fascia or connective tissue that attach to every muscle in our body. Fascia is fibrous and sticky, helping to hold muscle tissue and organs in place. Overused muscles cause inflammation and a build-up lactic of acid to occur. When fascial tissue gets bound it creates adhesions and causes muscle soreness, joint restriction, nerve pain, and reduced blood flow and oxygen to the tissues. Cupping allows separation to occur by gently pulling on multiple fascial layers to free adhesions and nerves, thus restoring oxygen to the tissue. It produces a profound vasodilation reaction, drawing blood to areas of pain while promoting metabolism within the skin tissue for better functioning of sweat and sebaceous glands. It also flushes toxins and lymph, activates synovial fluid in joints, and has a calming effect on the nervous system.

Common conditions treated by Cupping Therapy include: sciatica, chronic headache and back pain, anxiety, fibromyalgia, poor circulation, nervous tension, respiratory infections and colds, arthritis, muscle and joint pain.

Here are some of the benefits of Cupping Therapy:

  • Loosens adhesions
  • Improves circulation and reduces inflammation
  • Expels congestion and stagnation
  • Promotes the free flow of Qi
  • Strengthens immune system by promoting lymphatic flow
  • Releases impaired nerves
  • Pulls toxins to the surface of the skin

The good news is that you don’t have to travel across the world to experience these great benefits. Along with Centered Spirit, a Traditional Maya Medicine practice, there are many acupuncturists in the local Kansas City area that utilize cupping in their treatments. It is exciting and healthy to add new forms of bodywork into your lifestyle enhancement program. I hope you get the chance this year to try…and maybe fall in love with Cupping Therapy.

By: Alex Jackson

Cabbage & Shiitake Pho Soup

Asian Noodle Soup

Hello Fellow Cooks! Today I am offering this version of Vegetarian Pho soup. It is really easy to make and quick to prepare. This is the perfect recipe to cook during a cold week day (less than 30 min).

Ingredients:

  • 32 to 64 ounces (depends on your taste) homemade or vegetable Pho broth (available healthy grocery store already made) 
  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 6 ounces tofu cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large carrot cut into thin
  • 14 ounces rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
  • 8 ounces bean sprouts
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro, basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic sauce or sriracha for serving

Instructions:

  1. Use 3 tbs of vegetable broth  in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and the carrots. Sauté for about 6 minutes, or until tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in the hoisin sauce until the sauce thickens and coats the mushrooms, about 1 minute more.
  2. In a large pot, combine the shredded cabbage, crushed garlic and the vegetable broth. Cook to a full boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 min, then turn off the heat.
  3. Divide the rice noodles between four to six large bowls, then fill each bowl with the broth. Add bean sprouts, sliced jalapeños, shiitake mushrooms, fresh basil, and cilantro and serve with lime wedges, hoisin, and chili garlic sauce.

Bon Appétit!

Emilie

 

 

 

A very green broccoli soup

Ingredients:

3 LARGE FRESH BROCCOLI HEADS
1 RIPE AVOCADO
1/2 TSP OF  FRESHLY GRATED NUTMEG
1 PINCH OF SEA SALT
1 PINCH GROUND PEPPER
1 CLOVE OF GARLIC
VEGETABLE BROTH

Cooking preparation:

  1. Cut broccoli florets from stems. Peel tough outer skin from stems; trim off fibrous ends. Cut stems into 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. In a big pot, stir salt & pepper, grated nutmeg, crushed garlic, broccoli stems and broth. Heat to boiling. Cook uncovered over medium heat about 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in broccoli florets; cook about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is very tender.
  4. In blender, cover and puree soup in small batches. (At this point, soup can be covered and refrigerated up to 1 day or frozen up to 1 month.) Return soup to Dutch oven; reheat over medium-low heat.
  5. (Optional) 1 or 2 spoons of crème fraiche; season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle soup into warm individual soup bowls.
  7. Cut the avocados in half and cut them in slice or in cubes to add onto each serving.
  8.  Now it is time to Enjoy it!

Bonne Cuisine!

Emilie