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Happy Chinese New Year!

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment

by, chooyutshing @flickr.com

 

Today marks the eve’ of the Chinese New Year; the year of the Rabbit!  For the next 15 days; until the Full moon, those who celebrate the Chinese New Year will take part in many different traditional celebrations & parties.  But where do these traditions come from and what do they entail?  Check out my previous post from the 2009 for more info on this.  Just click here.

For those who are born in the year of the Rabbit are in for a very fortunate future, the rabbit in Chinese mythology is thought to be the ’emblem of longevity’.  The rabbit possesses great graciousness, kindheartedness, good manners and a sensitivity to beauty.  In addition a person born under the sign of the rabbit; is a good friend, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, lucky, flexible.  But just like anybody, they will have their ‘down side’ as well and can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, stubborn.

A child born in the Rabbit’s year will have a sweet disposition. Even-tempered and obedient, he will be sensitive to the moods of his parents and act accordingly. He may or may not be talkative, but he won’t be rowdy or offensive. He can sit quietly and concentrate on one toy or game at a time.

Usually he is a light sleeper and may fret a lot when he is sick. He will be easy to discipline and should have little trouble fitting in at school. He learns his lessons well and with ease. But although he has better than average manners, this does not mean he will not be argumentative in his own soft-spoken way. He can grasp both sides of a question quickly and debate his point with intelligence.

At times, it will be difficult to decipher his thoughts or deeds. Smooth at masking his feelings, the Rabbit will only say what he knows will please you and thus maneuver you to his way of thinking without your even noticing it.

He will be able to fend for himself and protect his possessions. Remarkably observant, he can calculate his chances for getting his way. Instead of directly resisting rules, the subtle Rabbit will carefully devise ways around them. In short, this polite little angel is going to bargain for a better deal every time (www.theholidayspot.com; Feb. 2, 2011).

He can take reproach with a defiant or philosophical sort of indifference. Shrugging off his setbacks, the Rabbit will patiently start again from square one. Helpful at home, conforming in school and well-tuned to his environment, this child will know his way around people and problems. Rest assured he will be well-liked and accepted in all circles (.

Each year is marked by a different animal in the Chinese Zodiac; and each year is blessed with it’s own theme based on the ‘personality’ of the zodiac sign.  So what will this year bring us with the energy of the rabbit?

This year we are under the influence of the Metal Rabbit.  The rabbit in general will bring us a year of peace and tranquility, a time to recharge our batteries and refresh our spirits; something we can probably all use especially after the ‘ferocious’ year of the Tiger.  In addition, the Metal element will bring a competitive edge to the tranquil bunny.

From one website:

A placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. We should go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds and get some rest after all the battles of the previous year.

Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force. A congenial time in which diplomacy, international relations and politics will be given a front seat again. We will act with discretion and make reasonable concessions without too much difficulty.

A time to watch out that we do not become too indulgent. The influence of the Rabbit tends to spoil those who like too much comfort and thus impair their effectiveness and sense of duty.

Law and order will be lax; rules and regulations will not be rigidly enforced. No one seems very inclined to bother with these unpleasant realities. They are busy enjoying themselves, entertaining others or simply taking it easy. The scene is quiet and calm, even deteriorating to the point of somnolence. We will all have a tendency to put off disagreeable tasks as long as possible

Money can be made without too much labor. Our life style will be languid and leisurely as we allow ourselves the luxuries we have always craved for. A temperate year with unhurried pace. For once, it may seem possible for us to be carefree and happy without too many annoyances (www.theholidayspot.com; Feb. 2, 2011).

For more reading on the personality of the rabbit and what is to come, click the link above or just simply google chinese astrology…  I am a sucker for these kinds of things.

Here’s another link:  http://pages.infinit.net/garrick/chinese/rabbit.html

So, whether you are taking part in the festivities or not, get ready for a great year!  I am especially looking forward to the year to come as I will be going through some big life changes and I surely could use some peacefulness and tranquility in the process as well as a nice recharge to my battery!  Coming up this year, I will be graduating with a Master’s in Oriental Medicine, getting my Acupuncture license, starting my own business, moving back in with my boyfriend (after 3 years of living long distance and finishing school) & becoming an Aunt (hopefully in the next 7 days! An early congrats to Aaron and Erika Hill!)  Anyway, the list goes on and certainly change is in the air, so it’s nice to know that their will be a fluidity and sense of ease that comes with the rabbit.

Till next time…  Happy New Year!

Erin

Sources:

2011 is the year of the rabbit. (2011, February 2). Retrieved from http://www.theholidayspot.com/chinese_new_year/more_zodiacs/rabbit.htm

Chinese zodiac. (2011, February 2). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Zodiac

 

 

RIP Jack LaLanne

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s a little tribute to the late and great juice-master himself…

I’ll take it as a sign to cut sugar for the next week and thereafter.  I’m usually pretty good about not taking in any refined sugars, but for some reason the past week has not been pretty and I have been paying for it.  Here’s to a new week; who’s with me.  Rest in peace Jack Lallane.

 

Placebo Or No?

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment

There is much debate about Acupuncture and its effects are often compared to that of a placebo.  So what’s the word?  Well, first let’s remind ourselves, what is a placebo and how it works.  According to Wikipedia, “a placebo is a “sham” that creates a placebo effect”… which is “the tendency of any medication or treatment, even an inert or ineffective one, to exhibit results simply because the recipient believes that it will work”.

So really, this begs the question, is Acupuncture simply playing a supersensory magic trick on our nervous systems & making us believe that we are getting better when in fact the treatment is “inert”?  As a student of the medicine, I obviously “believe” that it works, however this really isn’t the point at all.  Turns out a placebo is only as effective as long as it is being administered… and research would have it, that Acupuncture does indeed work long after it’s been administered; from weeks to even years down the road in follow-up studies.   This lasting effect is one of the things I find very interesting in all this research. 

Why am I writing about this?  Well, it’s a very pertinent question that I feel is important to answer and understand.  It is a common topic of conversation that patients & friends bring up when the topic of Acupuncture is mentioned.   Also, I am of the mind that the word “belief” should not be used in the same sentence as Acupuncture; it belongs next to words like Santa Claus & The Easter Bunny.  The mounting research and the personal accounts should be enough for us to know that Acupuncture works; but being of an analytical mind myself I can see the benefit in finding the data to back up an argument.  However, like I’ve said before, Acupuncture may be beyond our capable minds to understand at the moment but that certainly doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work & can’t be used as a health modality. 

The following article was printed up in the New York Times about a month ago.  The bottom line in this article is that Acupuncture works but maybe the research is focusing on the wrong questions.  I highly recommend reading it yourself, it brings up some really great points about how the research design we use with western pharmaceutical drugs just doesn’t work quite the same for studying acupuncture.

“Rather than proving that acupuncture does not work, in other words, the study may suggest that it works even when administered poorly. But the real lesson, acupuncture supporters say, is how difficult it can be to apply Western research standards to an ancient healing art”

Articles like this also lead me to question why Acupuncture is given so much trouble & its efficacy is constantly questioned simply because we don’t have an understanding of its exact mechanism of action.  In fact,  many of the pharmaceutical drugs on the market work by… you guessed it,  “mechanisms of unknown action”; and a few of the antidepressants currently on the market work just as well as Placebo, (meaning; a sugar pill will get you the same results as that antidepressant except you get the added bonus of all the nasty side effects).  

So, you tell me…  placebo or no? 

Sources:

Parker Pope, T. (2010, August 23). Studying acupuncture one needle prick at a time. New York Times, Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/studying-acupuncture-one-needle-prick-at-a-time/?scp=3&sq=Acupuncture&st=cse

Placebo Effect. (2010). Wikipedia foundation, inc.. Retrieved (2010, September 16) from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo_effect_(disambiguation)

Just Be

July 23, 2010 2 comments

By, hwinther @flickr

I recently just had the most wonderful 3 week vacation ever!  It was filled with Idaho outdoors, sunshine, relaxation, weddings, bbq’s, mtn. biking, road riding, friends & family… just to name a few!  I’m clearly still in denial that we started our summer term this Monday and have been daydreaming about riding my bike and running the trails back home in Ketchum, Idaho ever since I got back to Portland. 

It’s funny how you don’t think you are stressed at times until you realize what it’s like to feel completely at ease and in full relax mode.  That being said, I’m working on prolonging my Zen attitude from the break and bringing it with me through this term and next year as well as in work and all aspects of my life.  I just feel so much better!  Everything seems to align; my health, my diet, my energy, mood and emotional well-being all seem to be on the ups when I’m relaxed and stress-free.  So, I just wanted to share this blog post that I just read since it says exactly what I would have said had I put the time into making a list of ways to be Zen in your whole life as well as productive with your personal, work and social life.  After all, stress accounts for something like 90% of ALL disease!  That statistic is crazy and yet so easy to change…

“How to be insanely productive and still keep smiling” – Zen Habits Blog

Also, on this same note of living well and ultimately finding a passion that makes you happy and healthy in your life; one of my summer fun reads at the moment is Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman.  I’m not quite done with it, but I’m loving it & don’t want it to end.  I’m a total sucker for these inspirational books and this one has a little bit of the Star Wars/Karate Kid feel to it… I’ll have to post a good quote from there sometime soon… it’s just full of them!  And while I’m on the subject new favorite book that you’ll have to read whether you are a runner or not, is Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall.  I just about read the whole thing in one sitting!

Till next time,

~be well~

Erin

Rites of Passage…

June 12, 2010 3 comments

By, Bahman Farzad @flickr

Here we are… coming up on a major crossroads (at least me and the rest of the 2nd of 3 year students at OCOM).  Finals started up this week and continue pretty heavily into next week.  Then after that’s all said and done, just to really drive it in, we have our Clinic Entrance Exams (I like to refer to them as the mini boards), which are as ominous as they sound.  They mark the seperation of where you are a student in a classroom & where you’ve become an actual practicing intern in the OCOM clinic.  It all happens so fast and I’m convinced all these tests are merely a lesson in stress management.  The big test is two weeks from today and I’m trying to take a light-hearted stress free approach.  I have the information, the spreadsheets & the notes.  I’ve put in the time & I’ve studied my butt off for the past two years, so come Fall, I will be wearing my white coat treating people all on my own; with a supervisor of course!  I absolutely can’t wait! 

In the meantime to take my mind off of things I have been taking some extra hours working at the gym; which I LOVE and wish I had more time in every day to come play with KettleBells and offer my guidance and knowledge to our clients (www.spinachyou.com… Check it out!).  They are in the process of filming a promo video for a Kettle-Bell workout DVD which is going to be rad, so be on the lookout for a sweet video with all our clients; me and the other trainers included snatching (it’s a kettlebell move 🙂 ) away.  More word on that to come! 

It’s easy to find other things to do when your list of things to do and to study is so long you don’t know where to start; I just found an awesome website that my mom sent me; Ode Magazine which is sure to make my list of favorites as well as a great way to procrastinate!

Until next time, wish me luck and be well!

Erin

Now That’s Spooky Action At A Distance!

May 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Check out this extraordinary image of the supernova (from Reuters):

In this ultraviolet image (upper L), several weeks-old Supernova 2007uy is seen in galaxy NGC2770, taken on January 7, 2008, with a close-up, X-ray image of that supernova beneath. New Supernova 2008D (R) appears onto the scene in these images taken January 9, 2008, giving scientists the unique opportunity to witness the birth of a supernova. Thanks to a fortunate observation with NASA’s Swift satellite, astronomers, for the first time, have caught a normal supernova at the moment of its birth–the first instant when an exploding star begins spewing its energy into space, transforming into a supernova that during its brief lifetime will shine brighter than billions of stars combined (ScienceDaily.com, 2010)

 

Recently I have been listening to Sirius Radio, thanks to my dad for loaning me his fancy truck for a month, and have twice listened to Deepak Chopra’s channel.  At first I thought, man, I don’t know if I can listen to this guy, he’s so monotone… but then I realized how awesome the topic was and couldn’t stop listening let alone stop thinking about it since. Two times I turned on the station and both times was the same professor talking about Quantum Mechanics and how it relates to our physical and spiritual/emotional bodies in the universe.  Without bending your brain too much, he mentioned the phenomenon, “spooky action at a distance” which Einstein originally introduced, he came across this spooky phenomenon when studying the action of two molecules of the same entity, the interesting thing about it was that no matter the distance these two molecules were pulled apart, whatever actions one expressed in one place, the other did the exact same (but opposite; meaning they spin in different directions, one left & one right) at a distance.  Simultaneous action and reaction without direct contact!  So what is it that connects the two and delivers the call to action?  To the naked eye, there is no connection, no communication… there isn’t even a variable of time during which to illicit a response.  This idea brings to question a whole plethora of ideas, going against basically everything science can directly explain, which is in a sense mind-blowing!  Still there is no explanation for this phenomenon, but there right in front of our (these quantum mechanic’s) eyes, the molecules are acting and reacting, every time as if they are of the same ‘mind’.  The reason it is so interesting to me is because I am studying the enigmatic medicine of Acupuncture.  Currently there are researchers studying in great detail the mechanisms by which acupuncture works, but have yet to pin point an exact action.  There are theories, for example, the fascia theory: in short, this is the idea that every cell in our body is connected by fascial membranes (connective tissue) and we can access certain pathways (meridians) through the use of needles; affecting different parts of the whole body through the use of specific acupuncture points.

Even though we don’t understand the exact mechanism of Acupuncture, or why one molecule of a cell in one place will simultaneously affect another miles away without contact or means of communication (at least as far as we can perceive); this doesn’t change the fact that it is indeed happening or affecting the body and our own cells on a level that we just can not understand (at least presently). 

On this same note, I recently just watched a great TED talk in my Pathology class about a woman, Jill Bolte Taylor who had a Hemorrhagic Stroke in her left temporal lobe and lived to talk about her experience.  It is a remarkable video and leaves you emotional and inspired to make a difference in your attitude and your relationship with humanity.  Talk about ‘spooky action’!  She has an experience wherein the left hemisphere of her brain is completely shut off.  Her ability to communicate and use her physical body shuts down little by little yet she remains conscious the entire time, perceiving a reality that is unbeknownst to you and me.  I know, it sounds crazy right… but don’t take my word for it, listen to her story & I guarantee it will change your perception of reality, or at least leave you in wonderment! 

Jill Bolte Taylor: A Stroke of Insight  TEDtalks.com

Chinese Medicine is largely based on the idea that we are a part of nature, and we change as nature does.  We are made up of the same particles as the atmosphere and the earth around us, nitrogen, oxygen, water, iron, etc.  I just recently attended a talk by an Astrologist who is currently writing a book on Chinese Medicine and Astrology.  She’s spent a lot of time researching Astrology, Astronomy and has been studying a bit with a well renown Acupuncturist here in Portland.  One bit of information that goes along with my topic for the day was a discussion on the death of a Supernova; “when a star dies and explodes in an extraordinary fashion” (ScienceDaily.com, 2010).  In  january of 2008, astronomers caught a glimpse of this, the first ever witnessed event.  You can read the article here.  What really caught my attention was not the actual event itself (though that in itself is quite amazing), it was the realization of the event as an action/reaction of the whole universe.  It’s easy to think a star died, it blew up and there are a million other stars out there to take its place, and that’s it, but it is so much more than that.  Those stars are made up of gasses and different compounds, like our own atmosphere and bodies.  When a star is about to die, it essentially has burned up all its gasses except for its iron core (which can not burn anymore).  So, the star explodes into little bits into the universe and all those different elements are spewed out into the rest of space and made into something else, some new combination of elements and gaseous compounds.  Yes, somewhere along the way, all these little bits are made into a part of ourselves, so one could say, we are in essence, pieces put together by the stars… the iron in our blood, the nitrogen, the hydrogen… (crazy isn’t it!) 

Till next time…

~be well~

Erin

Sources: 

Graham, Nicholas. (2008, May 21). Stars supernova death witnessed by scientists. The Huffington Post, Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/21/stars-supernova-death-wit_n_102959.html

Institute of Physics (2009, March 4). ‘Spooky Action At A Distance’ Of Quantum Mechanics Directly Observed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090304091231.htm

Taylor, J.B. (Speaker). (2008). Jill bolte taylor’s stroke of insight. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

Health & Happiness

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment

By, Bahman Farzad @Flickr.com

 
“No one will ever be more invested in your own mental or physical health than you. The more you take an interest in your own health and what supports it and the more responsibility you take for your own health and well being the less expensive and the more effective your own true health care will be” ~ Nora Gedgaudas
 
I just loved this quote and wanted to share it with the “masses”; and to ask you, my readers, a question…
 
What do you do to take responsibility for your health, and does it make you happy?
 
For me, it’s a lot of little things, but the two main things at the moment are getting regular chiropractic adjustments (meaning at least once every couple of months) and seeing one of my teachers for Chinese Herbs.  Both these things are a big commitment of time, energy and money, and believe me, I don’t have a whole lot of extra time in my schedule; but I’ve made a commitment to myself and my practitioners and ultimately it makes me happy.  It also gives me the sense that I am actively taking part in my own healing process which is super empowering.  It’s easy to make excuses as to why we can’t spend the money on our own healthcare, but when it comes down to it, if our minds and bodies aren’t healthy, then what else is there? 
 
~be well~
 
 
Erin
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