An Australian Study Confirms That Tai Chi And Qigong Can Help Treat And Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

The first clinical trial in Australia involved a pilot study to assess whether traditional Chinese exercises helped stem the growing problem of diabetes led to unexpected results.

A team of researchers from the University of Queensland discovered that by performing the Chinese exercises Tai Chi and Qigong, the subjects in the study improved significantly many indicators of metabolic syndrome including blood pressure, HbA1c, waist circumference, and body weight.
Liu Xin, a Tai Chi and Qigong master, as well as a PhD student, formulated a set of exercises to help control diabetes.

He stated that it was encouraging for him to witness such remarkable outcomes over a short period of time and he’s now looking for more people willing to take part in further studies.

He said, “This specific program led to results that were positive on indicators of glucose metabolism and therefore can potentially contribute to the development of secondary prevention approaches for Type 2 diabetes.”

Eleven test volunteers undertook the exercise program during the three month pilot study. The study included chi kung or Qigong which was a Chinese traditional art involving a combination of mind training, movement, and breathing. Qigong in Winter Park is a five millennia old healing art that helps restore energy, detoxifies, and relieves anxiety and stress in the body.

Financed by the Diabetes Australia Research Trust, the Queensland Diabetes Qigong Program is being conducted by researchers Dr Nicola Burton and Dr Yvette Miller, Professor Wendy Brown who is the project leader, and Mr Liu, at the University of Queensland’s School of Human Movement Studies.

Among developed nations, Australia has one of the highest rates of diabetes. There are about 7.5 percent of adults (25 years and above) suffering from diabetes and a further 16 percent with a high chance of developing Type-ll diabetes.

Having studied tai chi and qigong for over three decades, Mr Liu believed that the spiral motions of the uniquely crafted exercises could activate the muscles more than traditional exercises, resulting in greater utilization and uptake of glucose.

The study showed that qigong and tai chi had significant positive effects on the participants’ health including higher energy, improved flexibility, and better sleeping patterns. The participants stated they would continue the exercises after the end of the study.

Liu said, “One especially critical outcome of the study was the substantial decrease in the measurement of the waist circumference of the participants,”

“Waist circumference is a sign of central obesity which is deemed an important risk factor for the development of various health problems including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.”

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An Introduction To Traditional Chinese Medicine Tongue Diagnosis

This article is a brief introduction to traditional Chinese medicine tongue diagnosis. Tongue diagnosis is an important part of diagnosis in Chinese medicine, which refers to the inspection of the shape, size, color and moisture of the tongue’s body and its coating or fur to diagnose disease.

Why can we use the tongue as an evidence of diagnosing diseases?

In order to answer this question, we need to understand the basis of tongue diagnosis in traditional Chinese medical theory.

The tongue is closely related to the Zangfu organs. The heart opens at the tongue, the movement of the tongue is controlled by the Heart Spirit. The Spleen meridian or energy channel connects with the tongue and the taste sensation of the tongue is mainly dominated by the spleen, and there are many other descriptions in Chinese medical theories.

The tongue is also nourished by Qi and Blood and it is moistened by Body Fluids. The tongue, therefore, can reflect the condition of Zangfu organs, Qi, Blood and Body Fluids. An examination of the tongue is extremely important in diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and prevention of diseases.

What should we inspect when doing tongue diagnosis?

Inspection of the tongue mainly includes the examination of the body of the tongue and the coating or fur of the tongue. Tongue body refers to the musculature and vascular tissues of the tongue, also referring to tongue substance. Inspection of the tongue body includes examining the color, shape, texture and movement of the tongue, which reflect the condition of the Zangfu organs, Qi, Blood and Body Fluids.

Tongue coating is a layer of moss-like material covering on the surface of the tongue. Inspection of the tongue coating includes examination of the texture and color of the tongue coating. Therefore, pathologically, tongue coating reflects the location and nature of diseases, as well as the condition of healthy Qi.

Now, let’s take a look at what a normal tongue looks like.

Appearance of a normal tongue.

The normal tongue body is soft, flexible, pale red, and not too large and not too small. The normal tongue coating is white and thin, and is neither dry nor greasy or slippery. The coating is closely attached to the surface of the tongue, distributed more on the center and root, but less on the margins and tip.

The normal tongue is usually described as “pale-red tongue with thin and white coating,” which suggests normal functions of the Zangfu organs, sufficient Qi, Blood and Body Fluids.

Why is tongue diagnosis so important in TCM clinical practice?

We need to understand this from its five aspects of clinical significance.

The clinical significance of tongue diagnosis

The first aspect, indicating exuberance and debilitation of healthy Qi and pathogenic Qi.

Generally, healthy Qi manifests on the tongue’s body and pathogenic Qi mainly manifests on the tongue coating. A pale-red and flexible tongue means that healthy Qi is exuberant, Qi and Blood is abundant and flow smoothly.

A tongue that is palemay suggest Blood and Deficiency. Thin, white and moist coating means no morbid condition on the patient, or the pathogenic Qi is not severe; thick coating means pathogenic Qi is exuberant.

Second aspect, distinguishing the nature of disease.

Tongue manifestation can reflect the nature of diseases. For example, thin, white coating indicates wind–cold external contraction; white and slimy coating indicates phlegm – dampness retention.

Third aspect, differentiating the degree of disease.

The degree of illnesses can reflect on the tongue fur or coating, while the severity of disease may manifest on both tongue body and tongue coating. For example, during external contracted disease, a thin and white coating indicates the early stage of the disease. Red tongue with yellow and thick coating suggests that the pathogen has entered the interior Qi aspect and the condition is morbidly severe.

A crimson tongue indicates that the pathogen has reached the nutrient aspect. Finally, a dark and purple tongue with little or without coating indicates that the pathogen has entered the Blood aspect.

Fourth aspect, the changes in the tongue can also indicate progress of the disease.

If the coating color changes from white to yellow, from yellow to black, or the tongue furgoesto thick from thin, or from moisture to dryness, this indicates that the pathogen has entered the interior, the disease has changed into severe, the disease changes from cold into heat syndrome, all leading to fluid damage.

On the other hand, if the tongue fur changes from thick to thin, from yellow to white, or from dryness to moisture, it means the disease is getting better.

Fifth aspect, the changes in the tongue also can indicate prognosis of disease.

Luxuriant tongue with normal movement and white thin coating indicates pathogenic Qi is not exuberant, healthy Qi is still sufficient, stomach Qi is still strong and the patient’s prognosis is favorable. Withered tongue with abnormal movement and tongue coating has no root, indicates deficiency of healthy Qi and debilitation of stomach Qi. This means the patient’s condition is critical.

Through the observation of the tongue, many physiological conditions and pathological changes in the body can be detected. TCM tongue diagnosis is easy to perform and tongue manifestation can reflect disease.

Why don’t you spend several seconds to take a look at your tongue when you look at yourself in the mirror every day, not only for your beauty but more importantly, for your health!

Jamie Catlett is an acupuncturist in Jacksonville, FL and the founder of Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic.

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Auriculotherapy For The Alleviation Of Anxiety And Stress

The ear is the organ of our body responsible for hearing. This important sensory organ however, is more than just a channel for sound energy. The ear establishes a connection between sound and our body and also maintains our balance to sustain our position with our environment.

The ear serves as the right and left auxiliary of our brain; is also a tool for healing and self-recovery. This function of the ear has been widely utilized in certain healing practices, especially in Western medicine.

The administration of this practice is known as Auriculotherapy or ear acupressure and has been seen to be one of the easiest and most effective alternative modes of healing to decrease addiction to drugs and alcohols, cure insomnia, reduce blood pressure, lose excess weight, and relieve pain, to name a few of the conditions caused by the stresses and difficulties of modern life.

The earliest use of auriculotherapy was in 500 BC by ancient Chinese acupuncturists. However, it was not until the 1950’s that a French doctor named Paul Nogier, that auriculotherapy was developed and refined to the modality we now use today. Since then, this therapy is now widely practiced as a valid form treatment all over the world.

Dr. Nogier attributed the association of ear acupoints and their reactions to a number of health problems. He compared the shape of the ear to that of an upside down fetus, which literally was a mini-representation of the entire body system of a person. The work done by Dr. Nogier was conspicuously supported by Oriental acupuncturists that led to the establishment of a more exhaustive map that pinpoints the exact acupressure points on the ear and various related bodily systems which these pressure points correspond.

Unlike ear reflexology which works by facilitating the flow of blood and energy in the body through the use of acupressure, auriculotherapy stimulates the nerve connections or neurons between the ear and the central nervous system. The administration of pressure to precise points on the auricle or outer ear activates nerve signals to the brain in order to send powerful curative signals to the organ or bodily system affected by the health condition.

To alleviate pain, the brain, when it receives signals from the ear, secretes neurotransmitters called endorphins into the blood stream. This response quickly relieves chronic pain and discomfort minus the adverse effects.

The modern way of living has provided us with many luxuries; unfortunately, it has also brought us more tension, anxiety and stress in various forms than in previous times. Today, most of our work depends on the use of computers that require us to sit on our desk for several hours glued to a computer monitor, which negatively impacts our eyes, spinal column and more importantly, our brain. These types of sedentary jobs have brought about acute headaches accompanied by stiffness in the shoulder, back, and neck in most people. They usually occur when the pressure of work pressure is at its greatest.

The workplace is not the only place where we get stressed. When we get home exhausted and tired, the pressure to face family responsibilities and to pay bills also generates severe tension that can lead to more serious problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, chest pains, depression, sleep disturbances, and many more.

Many people who are overstressed resort to antidepressants or worse, illegal drugs and alcohol which only lead to serious side effects affecting the body mentally and physically. People need not expose their health to danger in the battle against stress. The use of auriculotherapy offers us a convenient and safe way to alleviate anxiety and stress. Experience the benefits of auriculotherapy by giving this therapeutic modality a try.

Stress-Related Symptoms

Stress is actually not all that bad. It basically is a natural body reaction to perceived threats. At normal levels, stress enhances productivity by helping us to stay alert and to keep us focused. However, stress can become unhealthy when it is felt for a prolonged period of time. High levels of stress pose a risk to one’s health when it’s already significantly affecting one’s quality of life. This is the reason it‘s important to determine early symptoms of stress before it gets worse. The following are some of the related symptoms of stress.
• Nausea
• Lack of concentration
• Irritability
• Insomnia
• Heavy smoking
• Eating disorders
• Depression
• Chest pains
• Drugs and alcohol abuse

Auriculotherapy can provide us with a relaxing and natural mode of treatment that helps us achieve a calmer state by stimulating the production and secretion of endorphins in our body. With the aid of an acupuncturist vancouver bc, therapist, or even on your own, anyone can experience relief from anxiety and stress with auriculotherapy. If you’re taking prescription drugs, you may need to consult with your doctor first before availing of this modality.

By simply following these four simple ear acupressure techniques you’ll be on your way to a stress-free life:

1. Cartilage Press

One important acupoint in the ear can be found on the inner area of your ear. Stand in front of a mirror and look for the cartilage located just above your ear’s fleshy area. You’ll find that this cartilage is parallel to your ear lobe. Apply pressure on the cartilage with your index finger for ten seconds. Release the pressure and relax for ten seconds. Do the exercise 5 times then repeat the procedure on the other ear.

2. Finger Press

Press gently using your index finger on the point located behind your ear in the tiny fold where the hard region of your ear meets your ear lobe. Apply pressure on that point for eight seconds. Release the pressure and relax for ten seconds. Repeat the procedure five times. Then do the same exercise on the other ear.

3. Bead Press

One type of auriculotherapy procedure can be administered with the use of beads. Sit on a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor. Find the point located at the back of your ear. Place a bead on this acupoint by holding the bead between your index finger and thumb. Apply gentle pressure on the bead and hold it for ten seconds. Release the pressure and relax for another ten seconds. Repeat the exercise 5 times. Then go to the other ear and repeat this exercise 5 times.

You can also tape the bead behind your ear to keep it in place. Massage the beat gently for ten seconds and then relax for another ten seconds. Repeat this procedure on the other ear.

4. Finger Squeeze

Auriculotherapy can also be administered by applying pressure on the fleshy region of your ear. This can also be useful for people who want to lose excess pounds because this specific point on the ear can also function as a point to naturally suppress your appetite.

Find the pressure point by closing and opening your jaw. Whilst you do this, allow your index finger to feel the acupoint where your jaw moves the most. You’ll sense a plump bulge in front of the ear canal when sliding your index finger from the jaw acupoint towards your ear. Grab that fleshy bulge with your index finger and thumb and then squeeze it gently for eight seconds. Release the pressure and relax for ten seconds. Repeat the exercise five times and perform the same exercise on the other ear.

Some veteran therapists treat a pressure point using acupuncture needles and electrical devices that deliver mild electrical signals to the body. The use of finger pressure delivers the same benefits as with the use of these tools. If you decide to perform auriculotherapy to heal yourself, the only thing you need is a complete map that identifies the various pressure points on the ear and the illnesses and ailments they address. Understanding the specific amount of pressure to be used on these points is also important.

For a more convenient and handy guide, you can purchase an easy to understand guidebook about auriculotherapy that features a wide range of medical treatment for over 350 health conditions.

Aside from alleviating anxiety and stress, auriculotherapy also provides us with additional benefits such as treatment of depression, stabilizing of digestive problems, strengthening the immune system, boosting memory and concentration, enhancing sexual drive, and reduction of weight. It is a self-administered treatment that won’t take much of your money and time. When used alongside other relaxation techniques and therapeutic remedies, auriculotherapy can complete your overall wellness plan.

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Auricular Acupuncture To Help Control Addictions And Other Various Maladies

Acupuncturists are able to can cure sickness in other parts of a patient’s systemjust by treating one part of his body – the ear. A painful right shoulder,for example, is often addressedby stimulating the acupuncture points on the right ear; but treating the left ear is also just as effective.

The method of auricular acupuncture is similar to acupuncture. The ear contains over 200 acupuncture points with each point physically connected to certain parts of the body. When the nerve endings are stimulated at selected acupoints, a healing effect is transmittedalong the nerve to the area of the body part that is in pain or discomfort. Acupuncturists believe that any diseased or aching area of the body affects a corresponding acupoint in the ear. This may manifest in the form of eczema, scars, white marks, or nodules.

Some acupuncturists explain that their practice is being performedin many parts of countries throughout world, although they admitthat they do not fully understand how it works.

Auricular acupuncture is often used to relieve and help control different forms of addiction – including tobacco, food, drugs, and alcohol. It is also an ideal treatment for urinary problems, nervous disorders, migraines, indigestion, asthma, and arthritis.

Auricular acupuncture is considered another aspect of acupuncture, and its practitioners are qualified acupuncturists. To find qualified and experienced acupuncturists in Encino who have a background in auricular acupuncture, we recommend contacting the registry of acupuncturists in your area.

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Auricular Acupuncture Treatment For Mood And Manic Disorders

In managing brain disease and mood disorders, Quantum Brain Healing is an ideal tool that uses a lot of different approaches. Alternative therapies such as Chinese nutritional therapy, minerals, vitamins, herbal medicine, Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing, amino acids, and even music therapy are all suitable ways to cure mood disorders. Music Therapy is very accessible and affordable. Eye Movement Reprocessing and Desensitization is rarely practiced but is usually available in large cities.

Due to its pitch relationship, rhythmic structure, and duration, music can stimulate a wide region of the brain compared to other sensory inputs. It boosts neural activity and sets off the release of neurotransmitters. A music therapist uses music to formulate musical interventions that can stimulate certain areas of the brain that demand better function. The cerebellum, motor cortex, and basal ganglia can be activated via music therapy in an integrated manner in order to bolster motor function. Music cures the loss of neurons by commanding the brain to create new neural channels. Music can augment memory and learning ability through its influence on neural plasticity. Some forms of music can stimulate the tonal and verbal memory of the brain by means of recognition memory.

EMDR or Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing can help resolve emotional problems of all kinds, including PTSD, mania, automobile accidents, childhood trauma, natural disasters, assault, personal failures, sexual assault, panic attacks, divorce, sexual addiction, phobias, combat trauma, and Nintendo or computer addiction.

Auricular Acupuncture has been shown to work against mood and manic disorders. Scalp acupuncture is a beneficial therapy that is available in most towns and cities and a session typically lasts about 30 minutes or so. To treat mania, the most common auricular acupuncture points to use are the:

• Subcortex
• Shenmen
• Occiput
• Heart 1
• Cortex
• Brain stem
• Brain

This therapy may need to be administered a minimum 4 to 7 times a week before meaningful results are felt. Acupuncture treatment in Fort Lauderdale may need to be integrated along with Chinese nutritional therapy. Chinese herbal medicine may also be utilized to help extend the benefits of the treatment.

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Treating Cardiovascular Disease With Chinese Nutritional Therapy

The concept of medicinal food preparations refers to the nature/temperature and flavors or tastes of foods and to which energy channels foods enter, as well as the movement orientation (outward, inward, downward, upward) and general qualities (draining, moistening, drying, cooling, warming, etc.) of the foods. Foods can be described as hot, warm, neutral, cool, and cold; this corresponds to the Four Chi with each food having only one Chi. Foods are chosen based on the classifications defined in traditional Chinese herbal medicine. The Five Tastes (pungent/acrid, salty, bitter, sour, sweet) determine the kinds of healing function to target organs and/or meridians. Sour ingredients, for instance, target the liver while bitter ingredients are anti-toxic in action and target the heart.

Similar to TCM herbal formulation, ingredients also are chosen based on their roles in the actions of the recipe. These are classified in the following order: envoy, assistant, deputy, and chief.

Polished round-grain rice is neutral and sweet. The envoy controls the formula to a certain anatomical location and harmonizes the flavors of the recipe. It balances the flavors of foods and also stimulates the middle burner (your center of digestion), which makes it a perfect envoy.

Assistants boost the effect of the deputy (helping aide or assistant) or chief. They can also minimize toxicity or harshness (opposing assistant). Onions, which enhance the function of beef and other Chi-strengthening meats, are helping assistants. One powerful antidote to neutralize actual poisons found in foods and herbs is fresh ginger; therefore, it is considered an opposing assistant.

The recipe’s primary function is determined by the chief ingredient in a recipe. Meat in any recipe would be a good example. The deputy includes a secondary function and supports the chief action.

Dietary foods are chosen after a differential diagnosis (using pulse and tongue diagnosis) is done, and after the envoys, assistants, deputy and chief are chosen. Cardiovascular disease treatment is one of the more extremely important uses of Chinese nutritional therapy. From the viewpoint of TCM recovery, cure, and prevention, coronary artery disease is considered an ideal condition to resolve. TCM differentiates coronary artery disease into two categories: deficiency and excess. For your heart, the primary dietary foods/herbs are Chinese chive (xie bai), hawthorn (shan sha), dried longan fruit (long yan rou), lily bulb (bai he), red jujube seed (suan tsao ren), hoelen (fu ling), gan jiang, cinnamon bark (rou gui), and white chrysanthemum (ju hua).

Sargasso (hai zao), dried ginger, kelp/laminaria (kun bu), and garlic (da suan) are used for diagnosing Chi deficiency, Blood stasis, Yang deficiency, Yin deficiency, Phlegm stasis, and Chi stasis. Dietary foods/herbs are eaten as flavoring for congee or rice porridge, condiments, or snacks. More complex recipes are ideal for inclusive therapies and better outcomes.

Wild garlic porridge and hawthorn, for instance, can be used to treat precordial pain related to Chi deficiency. Soybean, sargasso, and kelp soup can address coronary disease accompanied by high cholesterol and hypertension. Chinese red sage, Chinese ginseng and hawthorn can treat Chi deficiency and Blood stasis.

An ideal sample meal would be:

Breakfast: rice porridge, wheat berry (fu hsiao mai), red jujube or red date (da zao). This healthy nutty porridge regulates and strengthens Heart Chi (signs and symptoms of deficiency may include insomnia; fatigue; tired spirit; slow, confused muddled thinking, and palpitations). The chief food is Red date; it activates the Stomach, Spleen, and Heart, and is neutral and sweet. This recipe can nourish the Chi of the Heart. The deputy is Wheat berry which is cool and sweet, and activates Lung and Heart. It also regulates Heart Chi in this recipe.

Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.

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What Is A Practitioner Of Holistic Medicine?

Practitioners of holistic medicine are healing professionals that have skills in one or more areas of healing. From homeopaths to hypnotherapists to bodyworkers, the holistic practitioner is a term that has become one that is usually difficult to understand or describe. This article will hopefully give you a clear idea on what a holistic practitioner is and how you can find one that meets your specific requirements.

When you say holistic practitioner, you’re in a way, saying medical doctor. Although you will find general practitioners that cross along different paths, most practitioners specialize in one or more modes of treatment. The foremost fields of specialization are counselors/coaches, body-centered therapists, emotional release therapists, energy-centered therapists, spirit- and soul-centered therapists, and mind-centered therapists. Each of these practitioners attempts to provide their patients with a better quality of life. This can come about through emotional confidence, physical ease, self-empowerment, and inner balance.

One thing you need to know is that holistic practitioners work in many fields of treatment. Actually, it is oftentimes hard to limit a practitioner to just a single field. A hypnotherapist may, for instance, also be a spiritual counselor, a bodyworker, or even a chakra therapist, among others. Also, since the soul-body-mind connection is just that, connected, wherever you start, be it in bodywork, mind, or energy work, you will find that all of your being will be influenced by the work.

To investigate the realms of possibilities, instead of limiting your choices to an area, you can use this article as a guide.

Counselors and Coaches

These professionals help clients design and manifest the health situations, business, career, and life that they really desire. A holistic counselor or coach typically works one to four times a month with a client opening belief systems, setting goals, and cooperating with him to give his client the support he needs to move forward in life.

Body-centered Therapists

Examples of body-centered therapists are movement therapists, bodyworkers, alexander and feldenkrais method professionals, massage therapists, watsu practitioners, yoga and pilates therapists, thai massage therapists, rolfing professionals (usually termed rolfers), reflexologists, acupressure therapists, sports massage therapists, and myofascial release therapists. (This list provides a brief overview as there are a minimum of 50 kinds of body-centered therapists).

While every body-centered therapist have their own unique way of healing their clients, most adopt a combination of physical pressure (trigger points, massage, etc.) movement, and breathing to enable the body to release stress. This stress release then also enables the mind to find a relaxing state. The state of relaxation is at times, the objective of the therapies; it is, at times, the true starting point.

Emotional Release Therapists

Examples of emotional release therapists are amanae therapists, integrative release therapists, psych-k therapists, and somato-emotional therapists.

Emotional release therapists deal with emotional patterns that are stuck in the mind/body and help a client move through these obstacles into greater emotional freedom and joy. Several other therapies, including energy work, shamanic work, yoga, and neuro-linguistic programming utilize emotional release techniques.

Energy-centered Therapists

Tai chi masters, integrative energy workers, qigong instructors, reiki practitioners, cranial sacral workers, healing touch practitioners, polarity workers, breathwork therapists, orgone therapists, jin shin jytsu and jin shin do therapists, applied kinesiologists, breathwork therapists, and matrix therapists are examples of energy-centered therapists. Homeopaths and acupuncturists in Boca Raton are also considered energy workers.

Energy workers usually deal work with the energetic ‘maps’ of the body. They focus on where energy is overtaxed, depleted, or stuck in the body and work with the patient to provide the energetic system of the body a level of balance. This balance boosts a patient’s state of being on many levels and also affects his overall body and mind.

Spirit- and Soul-centered Therapists

Spiritual counselors (who could also be considered in the counseling/coaching), shamans, intuitive guides, psychic mediums, and angelic masters are some examples of spirit- and soul-centered therapists.

Spirit- and Soul-centered therapists address the problem of their clients in a number of ways. A shaman may use soul retrieval on a client to restore a part of their soul ‘lost’ to trauma. Specific information on what will happen may be offered by a psychic if the client doesn’t make changes on his current path. A client may seek solace from an intuitive who will assist him in talking with a beloved departed. There are different ways spirit- and soul-centered therapists work with their clients.

Mind-centered Therapists

Metaphysicians, hypnotherapists, regression therapists, and integrative release therapists (IRT) are examples of mind-centered therapists.

Mind-centered therapists focus on the client’s belief system’s structures and how they may be in conflict with the quality of life of a client. They commonly find the underlying reason of what the stagnant states are and observe the client’s unconscious mind to reframe limiting beliefs and patterns that offer confidence and greater resources to the client to live the life he desires.

Holistic Counselors and Coaches

Nutritional counselors, empowerment coaches, intuitive and spiritual counselors are examples holistic counselors and coaches.

Based on this article, we can see that the term holistic practitioner can mean a holistic professional trained in any number of areas. A holistic practitioner will often list his fields of expertise in any of his ads to help you determine if he would be a perfect fit in addressing your specific situation and needs.

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The Taoist Concept of Life After Death

Death is neither dreaded nor desired in Taoism; rather, the person enjoys living. From the viewpoint of Taoist philosophy, the afterlife essentially does not exist — in a sense it is in life that we are eternal. The afterlife is within life itself. When living, we are of the Tao and again, are of it, upon death. Your essence is not the real you and in death, your essence is that part of you that ceases to exist. The closer to Tao you are believed to have become, the longer your life is. To achieve Tao, your aim is to become immortal, to have attained the deeper life. For a follower of Taoism, to be one or in harmony with the universe is the afterlife. For most Taoists, there is no “afterlife”, but rather consider the Tao as merely “logical.”

In death, Taoists do not rely on some weird mysticism or belief or an invisible sky god to come down from heaven to resurrect his body, they think that a person is not important enough to be reincarnated – one simply returns to the Tao when he dies. After death, every Taoist desires to be an important ancestor in their Heaven, where they’re able to assist the living. The thing is, they do believe in a Hell and a “Purgatory.” The latter has nine levels of punishments, each one ruled by a demon monarch; to help a person get out of this hell or purgatory, prayers are offered for him or her.

Death is not actually a loss for a follower of Taoism, it is merely a transformation, and that what we remember as the person moves on to take part in a never ending continuously changing dance of expression, de-expression and existence that is the Tao. Mortal life is merely one among a countless numbers of expressions of the Tao. According to Taoism, one needs to learn how to conquer human predispositions, to see mortal death as to comfortably rest, understanding that what happens to a person after mortal death is also part of the eternal process of the Tao. If during our mortal lives, we are able to learn how to live with the Tao in harmony, at the time of our mortal death, we will also be in harmony with the Tao.

If we can manage that, then everything else will fall into place – that is the essence of the Tao. Taoists believe that the world is filled with invisible spirits. Some of the dead are humans who are still capable of helping some people. Taoists think also that the world is filled with the spirits of nature: stars, mountains, stones, rivers, animals, and plants. The ruler of the universe is Shangdi and is considered to be the Great Spiritual Being. Spirits have been worshiped by people since time immemorial to get blessed with wealth and health and to keep their troubles away. There are Taoists who believe that spirits broadened nature, both the inner world, within the bodies of people and the natural world.

Balance and Taoism

After death, Taoists believe in the survival of the spirit. Followers believe death is not an end and birth is not a beginning. During ancient times, a Taoist was considered to have transcended birth and death and has attained Tao if was able to severe the Thread of Life. To a Taoist, the spirit or soul does not die at death, it simple “migrates” to another life and its soul does not get reborn. This is how a Taoist views reincarnation; the soul transfers to another life until Tao is attained. In Taoism, rebirth, death, and life are continuous cycles that have no start and no end. Each of us has an eternal soul, yet it is not the object of reincarnation.

In Taoism, the soul “drifts” to another life and is not reborn. Some people theorize that a Taoist has no form of conceptualization that compares to karma. The Taoist philosophy has no mention of the soul migrating to an animal. Instead of entering the regular after life, a very important and common objective of Taoists is to attain immortality. It is quite difficult to reach that goal since, in order to be eligible for immortality, the person may need to perform various tasks that must be completed during his or her entire lifetime. A person’s energy or soul, in Taoism, is deemed to be meshed with the Chi or vital energy, which is the nourishment of the soul. Eliminating impurities from the body can boost this energy. In addition to these requirements, you need to live a good-hearted, moral, and upright life.

In certain cases, Reincarnation is a moment to moment happening. We are continuously experiencing change, down to our cells, molecules, and atoms. The soul may change form, conglomerate, or divide. The soul of an animal, for example, can incarnate into a human body. When that human body dies, the soul may join with a couple of other souls to become another human. Probably, the larger soul divides into smaller souls, and so on so forth. You may have a problem finding the concept of Reincarnation among the aphorisms of the Tao-te Ching (600 B.C.); therefore, it most probably have later appeared in Taoism. While it is not stipulated what reincarnates, although something needs to pass from one life to another. The Chuang Tzu (400 B.C.), one of the most important writings in Taoism says: Death is not an end, birth is not a beginning. There is progression without a starting point; there is being without limitation.

Space is being without limitation. Time is progression without a starting point. There is birth and death, there is issuing forth and entering in. That is the Portal of God through which one goes in and out without seeing its form. Taoism’s objective is to reach the final goal; as a physical being, to transcend life on earth, and to attain harmony with the universe and nature. The terminal objective is to attain immortality. This is known as the ultimate goal Tao for the Taoist. Taoists affirm an existence beyond life and this can be achieved by heeding the proper behavior or path. The way to Nirvana and Tao is the same, yet different. A person is guided by an Inner Light to help him walk in the right direction towards the ultimate objective. In order for a person to be guided by the Inner Light, personal desires must be abandoned in order for him or her to attain eternal bliss. Each person needs to walk the path of the Tao (which comes from within) alone. For the Taoist, the path can only come from the Inner Light: no one else can chart a path for him. While Tao is defined as the Way, no direct path is expounded or explored in the initial and subsequent documents.

God and Taoism

Correspondingly, there are spirits in earth and heaven who record the transgressions of men, and based on severity or lightness of their misdeeds, take away from their term of life. During ancient times, as there was no concept of an immaterial soul and morality was perceived to be a man-made distinction, Taoism had no concept of Hell. In China, where Taoism borrowed some of the dogmas of other religions, it is now accepted that there is a Taoist Hell where many spirits and deities punish sin in a variety of ghastly ways. This is considered Karma in Taoism. Integrating beliefs from traditional Chinese folk religion, Taoism, and Buddhism, a type of purgatory called Diyu is a place where spirits are not only punished but also where they are renewed to prepare themselves for their next incarnation. In the Chinese Hell, the actual number of levels – and their related deities – varies according to the Taoist or Buddhist perception. Some believe there are four ‘Courts’, while others believe there could be as many as 10. The 10 Kings of Yama are also the ten judges of Chinese hell. Each Court takes care of a different type of atonement.

For instance, in one Court, adultery is punished, in another, murder. There are eighteen levels of Chinese hell based on some legends. Punishment may also differ based on belief, but a most legends tell of chambers where transgressors are beheaded, sewn in half, and forced to climb trees fitted with sharp blades or thrown into pits of excrement.

However, most legends concur that souls are given the Drink of Forgetfulness by Meng Po and sent back to be reborn in the world, perhaps as a sick or poor person or even as an animal, for further punishment once he has repented and atoned for his deeds. When they are dead, all Taoists will go through this experience for sure.

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Auricular Acupuncture 101

Auricular acupuncture is a fascinating form of acupuncture done on the ear. It is one of the most widely used microsystems of acupuncture used today. It is safe, effective and affordable. Clinically, it has many applications to treat a wide variety of diseases. In recent years, new protocols have been developed to treat substance abuse and addictive behavior.

Auricular acupuncture in Bellmore works by stimulating certain points on the ear with needles and hard herbal seeds. One of the first mentions of needling the ear was made in the classic medical text, the Ling Shu, or the Miraculous Pivot, written around the third century BC. The Ling Shu is actually a compilation of medical knowledge handed down by the Yellow Emperor Huangdi and others more than 2500 years ago.

There is also evidence that rudimentary ear acupuncture was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, the indigenous peoples in the Amazon rain forest and in parts of Africa. History also shows that attempts at ear scarification and cauterization were applied to the ear by European doctors as early as the 1600s.

But it wasn’t until 1957 that Dr. Paul Nogier, a French physician from Lyons France developed his system of auricular acupuncture. To many, he is considered the father of modern auriculotherapy. So, it appears that no one can positively lay claim to where it was first used. In fact, today there are many different systems and ear mapping.

Ear mapping is the correspondence of the body’s organs and anatomy to the points on the ear. Acupuncture, as practiced by the Chinese, follows, of course, the basic principles of Chinese medicine. The Chinese believed that the internal organ systems are connected by a network of channels and collaterals.

These channels and collaterals connect the parts of the body into an organic whole. Certain balances of Yin and Yang must be maintained in order to ward off disease or to keep the body from getting disease. The ear is closely related to the rest of the body and is connected by the channels and collaterals. It is regarded as a microsystem of the body.

When various disorders occur in the organs, a reaction may take place on corresponding parts on the ear. The development of Chinese auricular acupuncture is probably more derived from observation of functional effects rather than a strict correlation to the points on the ear to specific organs and body anatomy.

A good example of this is ear port point is the Shen men, translated as spirit door or gate, which is located at the junction between the superior and inferior antihelix crus and at the lateral one third of the triangular fossa. This is arguably, the most universally known ear acupuncture point in the world. If you have ever received auriculotherapy, chances are this point was needled.

Shen men, indicated for easing the mind, pain and sedation does not correspond to any particular organ or anatomical structure. The Nogier ear mapping is based on his famous discovery of the homunculus, known as the man in the ear. This is the representation and anatomical correlation of the inverted fetus in the ear.

When applying pressure, the practitioner will look for a tender response from the patient. Decreased reaction to an electrical current, if an electrical stimulation device is being used or certain changes or discoloration on the ear, the practitioner then takes these into consideration for both diagnosis and point selection.The Chinese system recognizes about 200 different points on the ear.

Dr. Nogier’s system is based on his discovery of the homunculus or the man on the ear. It is the representation and anatomical correlation of the inverted fetus in the ear. All the points are then matched to this inverted fetus and represent the different areas of the body, from the musculoskeletal parts to the internal organs and the brain.

Although not the same, the Chinese mapping system is quite similar to the Nogier system.

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Four Conditions That Can Be Successfully Treated With Gua Sha Therapy

Gua sha is an ancient Chinese healing technique that involves the scraping of the skin with a massage tool to boost blood flow in the body. It is an alternative and natural form of therapy that may provide you with a unique approach to good health and well being, mostly in resolving issues such as chronic pain.

Gua sha therapy is performed by a practitioner of Chinese medicine who scrapes your skin with long and short strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which boosts blood flow. The strokes are made with a smooth-edged tool known as a gua sha massage instrument. Before scraping, the practitioner first applies massage oil to a client’s skin, and then utilizes the instrument to repeatedly scrape the skin in a downward motion.

Gua sha is designed to treat energy or chi that has become stagnant. According to practitioners, this stagnation is due to inflammation, which is the underlying cause of various conditions related to chronic pain. They believe that rubbing of the surface of the skin can help break up the stagnation, promote healing, and relieve inflammation.

Usually performed on the legs, arms, neck, buttocks, and back of a person, gua sha massage therapy can also be performed on the face as some sort of facial massage. The practitioner may administer light to medium pressure, and slowly increase the strength to ascertain just how much force you can handle.

Benefits Derived from Gua Sha Therapy

Because it can lessen inflammation, gua sha is commonly used to resolve ailments that bring about chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis and, conditions that can cause joint and muscle pain.

It can also be effective in the relief of the following conditions:

1. Migraine headaches

Gua sha therapy may help if over-the-shelf drugs are useless against migraine headaches. A case study involving a 71-year-old woman who was suffering from chronic headaches was treated with gua sha over a two week period. During this time, her migraines got better indicating that this ancient healing art may be a viable treatment for headaches. Additional studies are required.

2. Hepatitis B

The Hepatitis B virus can cause an infection that may lead to liver scarring, liver damage, and inflammation of the liver. Studies show that gua sha can help lessen chronic inflammation of the liver.

One study observed a man manifesting high liver enzymes which is a sign of liver inflammation. He was treated with gua sha therapy and after two days of treatment, his liver enzymes started to decline. This has caused researchers to believe that gua sha has the power to treat liver inflammation, thus reducing the risk of liver damage. More studies are underway.

3. Neck pain

Gua sha therapy has been shown to effectively treat chronic neck pain. To ascertain the efficacy of this therapy, 48 test subjects were divided into two groups. One group used a thermal heating pad to treat neck pain and the other group was given gua sha therapy. After a week, the subjects who were given gua sha experienced less pain compared to the group that was not treated with gua sha.

4. Breast engorgement

A lot of breastfeeding women tend to experience engorgement of their breasts. This is the time when the breasts are overfilled with milk. This condition often arises in the initial weeks of breastfeeding or if the mother is separated from her infant for any reason. The breasts become painful and swollen, making it very hard for the infants to latch. Fortunately, this condition is usually temporary.

In one research, women were treated with gua sha from the 2nd day after giving birth up until the leave the hospital. In the weeks after giving birth, the hospital followed up on these women and discovered that many of them reported fewer incidents of breast discomfort, breast fullness, and engorgement. This made it easier for them to breastfeed.

5. Perimenopausal syndrome

Perimenopausal symptoms arise as women more and more approach menopause. Symptoms include:

• Irregular periods
• Insomnia
• Hot flashes
• Fatigue
• Anxiety

It is believed that gua sha therapy can help decrease the symptoms of perimenopause in some women.

In one case study, 80 women with symptoms perimenopause were observed. The treatment group was given 15 minute gua sha treatments once a week along with conventional treatment for two months. The control group was just given conventional treatment.

At the end of the study, the treatment group experienced a greater decrease of symptoms such as hot flashes, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia compared to the control group. Scientists have considered gua sha therapy to be an effective and safe treatment for this syndrome.

6. Tourette syndrome

The involuntary movements associated with Tourette syndrome (vocal outbursts, throat clearing, and facial tics) have been known to respond well to gua sha therapy. In a single case study, when gua sha combined with other treatments, gua sha has shown to lessen the symptoms of Tourette syndrome among the subjects in the study.

The research included a 32-year-old male who had been suffering from Tourette syndrome since he was 9 years old. He modified his lifestyle and was treated with gua sha, herbs, and acupuncture. After he had received once-a-week treatments at the age of 35, his symptoms were significantly reduced.

Side Effects

Side effects related to gua sha therapy

Gua sha is safe as a natural healing remedy. Although the method may alter the appearance of your skin, it’s not supposed to be painful. The appearance of your skin may change because the therapy entails the scraping or rubbing of the skin with a massage instrument which causes the capillaries or tiny blood vessels near the skin surface to burst. This can lead to minor bleeding and bruising of the skin. The bruising typically vanishes two days.

After a gua sha treatment, some folks may also show some indentations on their skin.

There’s also the chance of being infected with bloodborne illnesses in if any bleeding arises; therefore it’s essential for practitioners to disinfect their instrument after each patient.

If you’ve had any surgery in the last six weeks, avoid getting gua sha therapy.

People with have clotting disorders or those who are taking blood thinners are poor candidates for gua sha.

When mainstream treatments fail to improve your symptoms, studies show that gua sha may help provide the person with some type of relief.

Gua sha therapy may appear simple and straightforward. This thing is, it should only be administered by a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine or licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana. This guarantees a person a proper and safe treatment. More studies are needed, although but there are few risks related with this massage procedure.

Whomever practitioner you go to for treatment, make sure that he or she is a certified gua sha practitioner. Certification proves they have a basic understanding of this healing art. Seeking treatment from a professional boosts the efficacy of the treatment and decreases the risk of severe bruising or pain from too much force.

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