What does it mean for Autumn to be in the Metal Phase?

white tiger image from @yuji_musashihara, http://www.musashihara.com

With the Fall Equinox we welcome Autumn Season. We start to observe in our environment a slowing down of growth. This season reflects the conclusion of the seeds we have sown, both figuratively as well as in the material world. We will spend the next months harvesting and preserving flora and fauna in preparation for the coming winter. In the tradition of early Chinese medicine, life and seasons are organized into different elements, also referred to as phases. Autumn is categorized as a metal phase. It has a strong association with the Lung and Large Intestine Meridians. Imbalances within these meridians may become more prominent in this season. Physical imbalances of these organ systems often show up as dryness. For skin dryness I really like hydrating the skin with this Tremella mushroom extract before applying an oil or lotion. Bei Mu Er, or Tremella mushroom, is a popular beautifying yin tonic in Tradition Chinese Medicine often added to soups in Autumn. Pears are another Autumn yin tonic that can be beneficial to constipation.

Psychologically the element of metal is about letting go. When applied to the lungs and breathing, this phase is the exhale with knowledge of the coming inhale. Exhale/let go or inhale/take in too much and there is disharmony and a loss of health. This can be applied to the bowels (large intestine) as well. The emotion associated with the metal element is grief. Healthy grieving is part of the process of unwinding and letting go. It creates an opening in us. When there is imbalance we stay stuck in the grief and are unable to transition into the next phase.

Many dislike autumn as it portends the “death” that winter shows us. I think appropriately this phase has a strong connection to the Shadow. The shadow is that which we reject in ourselves. It includes the desires we deem socially unacceptable and too uncomfortable to acknowledge in ourselves. Many of my teachers have expressed that when we learn to work with our shadow we also find repressed strengths. Our fears often keep us from reaching our full potential.

A simple yet challenging tool for working with your shadow: When you are upset with the actions of someone else, try to see where you have these qualities as well. It is easier to see “ugliness” in others than ourselves. What we strongly dislike in others is often something we are desperately rejecting in ourselves. I remember when I first started this practice I once had to keep reflecting on an incident for 3 months before I was finally able to recognize where I was doing that as well!

Two acupuncture points you can work with this season:

Lung 1 can help us surrender to grief and overcome resistance to new possibilities. It can awaken hope, inspiration and vision.

Large Intestine 20 can be worked with to clear the mind, reinvigorate the senses, and bring us back to ourselves. Due to the way memories are linked to scents, it can be utilized for work on releasing and shifting trauma held in the body.

Scots Pine essential oil helps reconnect us to our inner fire and make peace with change and the cycles of life.


Dechar, L. E. (2021). Kigo: Exploring the spiritual essence of acupuncture points through the changing seasons. Singing Dragon, an imprint of Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

*Commissions may be earned from qualifying purchases.


Insights on Late Summer according to Traditional Chinese Medicine

The yin-yang symbol shows us that an abundance of yin gradually turns into yang until there is an abundance of yang. Then the yang in excess starts to turn into yin and the cycle continues. We are now leaving summer, a time of exuberance and outward flowing energy. Summer is when many of us are most active; traveling, swimming, hiking, and meeting people at outdoor events. Late summer marks the culmination and slowing down of this energy.

The seeds that we planted in the Spring are ready to be harvested and processed for storage. Historically this was a time of community coming together to nourish and support each other. As the days shorten we spend more time in stillness. Some of us look forward to Autumn and chill evenings in front of a fire with close friends.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine this time is associated with the Earth element and the Spleen and Stomach meridians. When we work with these meridians in acupuncture we are not just working on the pathway to address physiological issues. The meridians are also linked to psychological, energetic, and spiritual strengths and weaknesses. The energetics of the Earth element, Spleen, and Stomach are about nourishment and generosity. This is a good time to reflect on these qualities in ourselves and our lives.

When the movement of these meridians is healthy we are able to experience empathy and sympathy with healthy boundaries. When imbalanced we become more enmeshed and codependent, which blocks our natural growth and creativity. When we care for others are we able to do it in a healthy way; not over-giving at our own expense or giving & guiding where it is not wanted. We often think that being caring is about the heart, but the heart is fire and passion. It is the energetics of the Earth organs and meridians that provide us the means to nurture others.

The Stomach meridian is about breaking down information into parts, while the Spleen is about reflecting on experiences and ideas and creating something new. Imbalance in Spleen energetics can result in overthinking and over processing of information without efficiently turning it into something usable. In this way Earth element energy is about taking ideas and dreams and turning them into reality.

From the perspective of chakras the Earth element corresponds with the 5th:Throat chakra and the 3rd:Solar Plexus. Are you in your power? Are you able to recognize your authentic desires and turn them into reality?

What are ways to work with your Spleen and Stomach Meridians?

You can sign up for my online class Meridians: Massage & Activate where I will continue to drop videos and guides on working with the meridians. It is a monthly subscription with full access to all materials as I upload them.


Dechar, L. E. (2021). Kigo: Exploring the spiritual essence of acupuncture points through the changing seasons. Singing Dragon, an imprint of Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

*Blog author may receive commission on qualifying purchases.

Oysters, Oyster Shells, and Pearls: Beauty, Anti-aging, and Fertility

When I think of oysters my next thought is of the painting the Birth of Venus by Botticelli. A beautiful young nude woman……standing on a scallop shell. Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. The oyster was similarly honored throughout Asia with its various components; the shell, the meat, and the pearl being valued for their beautifying, rejuvenating, and invigorating properties. Let’s take a deeper look at this time honored crustacean through the lens of Traditional Chinese Medicine. As you read through this keep in mind that when I list organs with a capital letter I am referring to the Traditional Chinese Medical energetics of that organ. This is not always a 1:1 conversion to what we see as the biological organ.

Pearl, Zhen Zhu in pinyin, is considered sweet, salty, and cold and resonates with the Liver and Heart meridians. In Traditional Chinese Medicine Heart heat and Liver heat are both linked to insomnia and emotional disturbances such as anxiety, being easily frightened, and irritability. By cooling these meridians pearl powder can help to restore a sense of peace. Topically pearl powder has the property of promoting the healing of ulcers of the skin and gums, burns, and eczema. Its ability to reduce inflammation and generate healthy skin makes it a popular facial mask ingredient. A mixture of 3 grams of pearl powder with 1 teaspoon of milk applied to the face can nourish aged dry skin and fade freckles and sun spots. Dragon Herbs is one of my favorite providers of Traditional Chinese Herbal Tonics. They offer a pearl powder in capsules that can be taken as a supplement, or opened to use the powder topically.

Mu Li, oyster shell, is salty, astringent, and cool and influences the Liver and Kidney meridians. Like pearl powder, it cools Liver heat to benefit insomnia, irritability, and restlessness. When processed with vinegar it can soften lumps and masses, including a goiter. It holds in fluids, countering night sweats and spontaneous sweating, as well as excessive uterine bleeding and vaginal discharge. While pearl powder is more commonly used for ulcerations of the skin, oyster shell can benefit stomach and duodenal ulcers and heartburn. Sometimes people will take oyster shell as a calcium supplement like this one.

My favorite part is the meat of the oyster. Unfortunately I could not find its name in pinyin but its properties are neutral temperature, sweet and salty. Oysters are beneficial for nurturing yin and building blood. This can result in relief from symptoms such as nervousness, dryness, insomnia, and indecision. Oysters are a good source of zinc and are one of my top recommendations for anyone on a fertility journey. There is an oyster formula that contains mussels so I would like to discuss the properties of mussels as well. Mussels are considered warming & salty and strengthen the Liver and Kidney. They tonify qi, jing and build blood. By supporting Kidney jing, improvements in impotence and low back pain may be noticed. Mussels also benefit excessive uterine bleeding, swellings such as goiter, and vertigo. By building blood they nourish our organs, muscle, and skin.

As we age we tend to burn through yin and Kidney jing which contributes to the physical signs and symptoms of aging. Kidney jing is what I like to refer to as our source energy. How much Kidney energy we have influences our virility and fertility, as well as how much source energy we provide our offspring. Yin substances are those that moisten; such as the fluid of our joints and that which keeps our skin soft and supple. Blood nourishes our tissues and when there is not enough our organs do not function as well and we have poor stamina. Blood stagnation is a source of pain according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Like an empty streambed, inadequate blood to keep fluids moving is one of the causative factors of blood stagnation. By nourishing yin, building blood and Kidney jing, an oyster & mussel supplement could be considered a powerful anti-aging formula!

This is the part where I say this is not medical advice and is for educational purposes only. (But have fun experimenting!) I may receive compensation for qualifying purchases. (and I appreciate you supporting my efforts)

Resources used include:

Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford

Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology by John and Tina Chen

As well as notes from a seminar with Dr. Jamie Wu at the Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin now called AOMA School of Integrative Medicine.

Photobiomodulation For Pain

As any of my long term clients will tell you, I am constantly learning new techniques. One of my most recent new “toys” is a Celluma FDA approved LED device. I just completed a training on working with Photobiomodulation devices, the current term being used in research with Low Level Laser Therapy or Light Emitting Diodes. It so fascination that for the first time since graduate school I was able to voluntarily sit through 3 straight hours of lecture. Perhaps it is kismet that I am so excited about this form of therapy since one of the leading providers of research and education on this therapy in the United States is Wellman Center for Photomedicine, a part of Harvard Medical School.

I learned so much in this training that I want to share. I am going to break this down into multiple blog posts centered on a central theme, this one being pain. It treats almost every kind of pain, and in some cases, such as tendon inflammation and tears it is listed as one of the leading modalities for treatment. Its primary modes of action include its immune modulating function, the ability to increase the body’s production of stem cells, increase local vascularization, increase collagen production, increase ATP, and increase neurogenesis. Results are tertiary: initial treatments will work on the cellular level. Accumulative treatments will build upon each other so that over time this will result in noticeable outcomes like reduced pain, increased range of motion, and increased strength. The essentials that you need to know is that to see results you need to come in for NO LESS then 2 times a week for multiple weeks. For acute issues you want treatment almost daily. Contraindications include: this cannot be done in many locations for someone who is pregnant, those with photosensitivity, over malignant tissue, directly over the unprotected eyes, and with caution on those susceptible to seizures. You will notice that most of these studies are done with low level laser therapy, which is more concentrated than LED. Effectiveness of outcomes is dependent on the amount of power of your device; most devices that offer enough power are $1000 and up. LLLT have so much concentrated power that a therapeutic session may not last longer than 10 minutes. LED devices are better for working on broader areas and they are left on the individual for up to 30 minutes.

From here I will provide a list of studies completed on different types of pain along with frequency of treatment and outcomes as they were provided to me. This research has been compiled by David Kunashko in his training on Photobiomodulation in the Clinic.

Summary of Research

Osteoarthritis: Inflammation of the synovial membrane results in damage to the joint cartilage.  Reducing the inflammation of the synovial tissue can slow damage and repair the joint.

Research on low level laser therapy on osteoarthritis shows significant reduction in inflammatory cells in the synovial membrane.

Meniscal Cartilage Tears: Increased microcirculation helped to repair the cartilage, increased synthesis of collagen and chondrocyte cells that form into cartilage.

Research: Grade 3 tears were treated 2x/week for 3 weeks, then once per week for 3 weeks. Pain went from 74 (higher level of pain) to 26. 6 months after treatment pain was at 25. 1 year after treatment it was at 27. In the placebo group pain was 58 post treatment, 75 at 6 months later, and 76 at 1 year later.

Chronic Low Back Pain was treated 2x a week for 6 weeks

Those receiving low level laser therapy had initial pain of 7.3 that reduced to 4.4. They had initial disability of 33 that reduced to 20.8. Those receiving low level laser therapy with exercise had starting pain at 6.2 that reduced to 2.4 and their level of disability reduced to 16.8. The Placebo low level laser therapy with exercise started out with a pain of 6.3 that reduced to 4.3 and disability level of 31.8 that reduced to 24.1

Fractures : Fractures can be treated if it is possible for the low light therapy device to contact the skin directly over the fracture.

A study of closed bone fracture of wrist using near infrared, 60 mw, 9.7 J/cm2 for 2 weeks at 5x/week.

In the LLLT (photobiomodulation) group: level of pain before: 6.6, after: 3.8, 2 week follow-up: 1.28.

In the nonLLLT placebo group: Level of pain before: 6, after: 5, at 2 week follow-up: 3.2

Disability measurements for the LLLT group: 39 before treatment, 20 after 2 weeks of treatment, 11 at 2 week follow-up

Disability measurements for the placebo group: 40 before treatment, 34 after 2 weeks of treatment, 28 at 2 weeks follow-up

Hand grip with laser treatment before: 2.4, after: 4.6, 2 week follow-up: 8

Placebo hand grip level before: 2.3, after: 2.5, 2 week follow-up: 3

Osteoporosis: There is limited human trials but some evidence that it might be beneficial. Findings show that LED can reduce osteoclast activity; the action of the body breaking down bone.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that progressively deteriorates the spine.  It is characterized by increased activity of T-lymphocytes.  Low level laser therapy decreases the secretions of these immune factors.

Laser therapy group received 2x/week weeks 1-4, and 1x/week weeks 5-8

Pain of laser therapy group at 4 wks: 53, at 8 wks: 33, at 8 week follow-up: 27

Placebo pain levels at 4 weeks: 66, at 8 weeks: 66, at 8 week follow-up: 68.

Primary dysmenorrhea:  It is believed low level laser therapy promotes relaxation of smooth muscle through nitric oxide release, which relieves pain. Red light therapy also has an immunomodulation effect on blood.

Treatment was 20 minutes daily for 5 days before onset of menstrual cycle at acupuncture points ren 4 and 6.

Low level laser therapy results: Pain at visit 1: 8.34, at visit 2: 8.22, at visit 3: 5.8, at visit 4:4.63, at visit 5: 3.88

Placebo results: Pain at visit 1 8.26, at visit 2: 8.05, at visit 3: 6.66, at visit 4: 6.37, at visit 5: 6.26


Contraindications and Precautions: An Evidence-Based Approach to Clinical Decision Making in Physical Therapy. Volume 62 Number 5 Special issue 2010.

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2016 Oct;20(4):748-750. Low level light therapy and tattoos: A case report. Ingenito T 1 .

Lasers Med Sci. 2014 Jul;29(4):1449-52. Laser therapy and photosensitive medication: a review of the evidence. Kerstein RL, Lister T, Cole R.

Chow et al. Annals of Internal Medicine: Nonpharmacologic Therapies for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review for an American College of Physicians Clinical Practtice Guideline, February 14, 2017.

Alves et al. Arthritis Research & Therapy, Treatment Time and Power Considerations, 2013, 15:R116. http://arthritis-research.com/content/15/5/R116.

Low-level laser therapy in meniscal pathology: a double-blinded placebo-controlled trial. Lasers Med Sci (2013) 28:1183-1188.

Gholamreza Esmaeeli Djavid et al. In chronic low back pain, low level laser therapy combined with exercise is more beneficial than exercise alone in the long term: a randomized trial.

Wen-Dien Chang et al. Therapeutic Outcomes of Low-Level Laser Therapy for Closed Bone Fracture in the Human Wrist and Hand.

HongMoon Sohn et al. Effects of Light-Emitting Diode Irradiation on RANKL-Induced Osteoclastogenesis.

Stasinopoulos et al. Lasers Med Sci. LLLT for the management of patients with ankylosing spondylitis. 12 January 2016.

Gi-Youn Hong et al. Randomized controlled trial of the efficacy and safety of self-adhesive low-level light therapy in women with primary dysmenorrhea.

Teas For Fertility and Pregnancy

As Well as General Female Health and Healthier Hair

Spend enough time among natural health lifestylists and practitioners and eventually you will come across these two Rock Stars: Red Raspberry and Nettles.

I first learned about them from practitioners of The Wise Woman Way, an approach to health taught by the herbalist Susun Weed. All of the information in this article is either directly or indirectly from her teachings.

Susun Weed promotes the practice of drinking nourishing herbal infusions daily as a foundational practice for well-being. This is for everyone, not just those trying to become or already pregnant. Each day you would choose one of the nourishing herbs and make an infusion. The nourishing herbs I am most familiar with are nettle, oatstraw, and red clover blossoms. You also want to be mindful of your sources because while these plants are a great source of nutrients and minerals, they can also accumulate toxins from their environment. Nettle is commonly suggested for issues with fertility and during pregnancy, however everyone and every situation is different and this information does not replace working with a medical provider.

How to make an Herbal Infusion: Use a ratio of 1oz or 3-4 tablespoons of dried herbal material to 1 quart of boiling water. If you are using a mason jar you will want to run warm water in the mason jar beforehand to warm the glass up so that it does not crack when you add the boiling water. You can also put a knife in the jar so that the metal pulls some of the heat out of the water.

You can put a covering (lid) over your container of herbal tea and water as well as wrap it in a cloth to keep the heat in. Let it steep for a minimum of 4 hours up to overnight. When finished, strain it and squeeze excess liquid out of the herbal matter. Drink it immediately or within 16 hours.

What are the benefits of Herbal Infused Teas? Steeping these larger quantities of herbal matter for longer periods of time allows for more bio-available forms of vitamins, minerals, proteins, polyphenols, and bioflavanoids  to be released from the plant. As a result of this, many people find that regularly consuming these herbal infusions result in them having healthier looking skin and stronger hair.

Nettle Leaf is one of those plants that seems to be great for people in almost all situations of life including pregnancy. Nettles are considered to be one of the most chlorophyll rich plants. They are particularly abundant in vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, and sulphur. Benefits of drinking it before and during pregnancy include:

  • Nourish, strengthen, and rebuild the kidneys and adrenals. Accumulations of minerals in the kidneys are gently loosened, dissolved and eliminated.
  • Increasing fertility in women and men by nourishing and rejuvenating the endocrine glands
  • Ease and prevent sore joints
  • Relieve constipation
  • Reduce fatigue and exhaustion; improve stamina
  • Reduce and eliminate headaches
  • Nourish and strengthen the nervous system
  • Nourishing mother and fetus
  • Easing leg cramps and other spasms
  • The high calcium content helps diminish muscle pains in the uterus, legs, and elsewhere during and after birth.
  • As a source of vitamin K and its supportive ability in increasing available hemoglobin, it may prevent hemorrhage after birth and reduce postpartum bleeding.
  • It is known to tighten and strengthen blood vessels while helping them to maintain elasticity. This reduces hemorrhoids.
  • Increase breast milk
  • Nourish and rejuvenate the cardiovascular system: Nettles are an incredible blood builder and oxygen-rich tonic, preparing the body for birth and potential trauma.

Read about the benefits of Oatstraw & Herbal Vinegars during pregnancy and order herbs through Red Moon Herbs. I also really like the quality of herbs that Foster Farm Botanicals sells.

Red Raspberry is another great plant for almost all aspects of female reproductive health including pregnancy. Some recommend drinking it as an herbal infusion as well. The flavor is a little too strong for me though I have been told it works with peppermint. I tend to drink it in the traditional tea style. Red raspberry leaves are a source of vitamin C, E, A, and B complex, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.

According to The Birth Center red raspberry leaves “Prevent miscarriage and hemorrhage, decreases morning sickness, and reduces pain in labor by toning the muscles of the uterus.”

According to Susun Weed, the benefits of drinking red raspberry leaf tea regularly include:

  • Increasing fertility in both men and women. Raspberry leaf is an excellent fertility herb when combined with Red Clover.
  • Raspberry leaf tones the uterus and helps prevent miscarriage and postpartum hemorrhage from a relaxed or atonic uterus.
  • Ease morning sickness
  • By toning the muscles used during labor and delivery, Raspberry leaf eliminates many of the reason for a painful delivery and prolonged recovery. It does not counter the pain of pelvic dilation.
  • Its high mineral content assists in milk production. For some women its astringency counters that.
  • Allows the contracting uterus to work more effectively to support an easier and faster birth.

Read more about Susun Weed’s herbal pregnancy suggestions HERE.

DisclaimerThe Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated any health related statements that may appear on this site. The products presented on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Can LED Light Therapy Help Increase Fertility?

LED Light Therapy has become popular for its effectiveness in treating acne, boosting collagen production & reducing wrinkles, as well as treating a variety of types of pain. It is believed that it does this by

  • Enhancing mitochondrial activity & ATP production
  • Increasing circulation
  • Regulating inflammation

According to CNY Fertility light-emitting diodes can improve fertility by

  • Balancing the endocrine system
  • Increasing vascularization which increases nutrient delivery and cellular health
  • Improving collagen formation which benefits the ligaments of the uterus
  • Improving cellular ATP production which supports the health of the ovaries and uterus
  • Improving lymph flow to benefit inflammatory and immune conditions

Currently most of the research into infrared and red light therapy for fertility is being done in Russia and Japan. Dr. Toshio Ohshiro in Japan stumbled upon this while treating a 55-yr post menopausal woman for low back pain who subsequently came out of menopause. Since then he has conducted studies on woman around the age of 40 diagnosed with severe infertility after failed attempts with Assisted Reproductive Technology. In these studies with 21 sessions of light therapy, 22% of the women became pregnant. Almost all studies with light therapy have recipients coming in 2-3 times a week because it has been widely noted that less then 2 times a week significantly reduces the likelihood of success. No adverse events were noted in any patients.

Another clinic in Japan is showing acupuncture and laser to increase blastocyst rate and improvement in egg quality.

Female eggs have 200 times more mitochondria than any other cell. Research indicates that mitochondria in older female eggs become less efficient at producing ATP. It is believed that this is the reason for decreased fertility in women as they age. Researchers believe that red light therapy displaces nitric oxide, allowing more oxygen to saturate cells. This is in addition to increased ATP production, improved blood flow to the reproductive organs, improved regulation of inflammation, and softening of scar tissue. LED is not only for women; experts say it can also increase testosterone levels and sperm quality.

In a study, 20 men with oligozoospermia received red light therapy 2 times a week for a total of 10 sessions. They experienced increased libido and significant improvement in quality of sperm including motility and total number.

Wellman Acupuncture offers light therapy with a Celluma LED device. Celluma devices are polychromatic and deliver blue (465nm), red (640nm) and infrared (880nm) light energy simultaneously to safely treat a wide variety of skin and pain conditions easily. Each wavelength is absorbed by different molecules that act as a signaling mechanism for different cellular processes. For example, some reduce inflammation and some kill acne-causing bacteria, while others enhance localized circulation. The importance of device placement and proximity to tissue is one aspect of LED light therapy which is often misunderstood and rarely explained effectively. The key to efficacy is getting the light emissions as close to the skin as possible to ensure optimal energy absorption. Celluma’s contouring design allows previously considered “awkward” areas such as elbows, shoulders or ankles to be treated with ease.  Celluma light therapy mimics a natural photobiochemical reaction process to deliver safe, UV-free low-level light energy through FDA cleared, high-intensity LED devices. 

10 Things to Know About Meditation Before You Start

The first thing you want to know is what is your purpose? What is your motivation? Just as there are different types of Yoga, there are different types of meditation. I first experimented with meditation in 2004 when I was 21 and living in Germany. My speech-language partner, someone I met up with weekly so he could practice his English with me and I could work on my German (no, we did not date), talked about Ayurvedic Medicine and the aspects of it so much that I decided to try it out. I’m pretty sure I did no research on it and for some reason he was not able to explain to me exactly how to do it. So I just started a daily practice of sitting and trying not to think of anything for 10 minutes, half of which were me peaking at the clock. Does this sound familiar to anyone? It did seem to bring a degree of calm to my experience of attending University in a foreign country and mostly foreign language. I admit signing up for a German for Foreigners course as well as English literature (with 2 other Americans I might add) helped with the Angst some as well.

If your goal is just to bring some calm into your day, simple breath techniques might be a good option. You can check some out in my Breath for Healing courses here. This is because truly meditating, getting to that point where you really are not just sitting mostly catching yourself thinking….I mean, on a good day you are catching yourself thinking…..is A LOT of work and dedication. This brings me to some other aspects of learning to meditate.

2. If you want to learn to meditate because you want superpowers – you know, the ability to manipulate energy, space, and time, it is going to REALLY take a lot of TIME and DEDICATION. When I say time, I mean 10 years, not 1. This is a Lifestyle and a Lifetime.

3. Dedication. It takes some serious dedication. If you really want to progress with your meditation practice you will at some point need consistency. People are habitual. Our minds are and our bodies are. This is a very beneficial tool of conserving energy. One of the best things you can do for your meditation practice is to dedicate yourself to doing it the same time everyday. For more people that is first thing in the morning when their mind is still relatively blank, or in the evening when they are ready to calm down. What are you going to do when you go to a weekend festival? How about when you get a new partner and you start staying over at their place? Maybe you have friends out of town and when you visit everyone gets together in the morning to make breakfast and have coffee together. Things get complicated.

4. You change. Maybe you stop partying. You might come to the point where you give up alcohol, coffee, and smoking. This means you might lose friends. You don’t fit with “your people” in quite the same way anymore.

5. Your values might change. You’ll start holding yourself to a higher level of integrity. If you are successful, you become more aware of your unconscious conditioning. While it might be more enjoyable to have a petty response when you do not like what someone does, you start catching yourself and choose to behave differently. There can be an in-between phase where this is just frustrating; you are trying to be a better person but maybe not seeing the benefits yet.

6. Meditating does not intrinsically make someone a better person, just as being a nun doesn’t guarantee that person is all gentle light and love. Those who meditate are just as susceptible to their issues as everyone else. You might catch yourself going around acting like you are spiritually superior to everyone else just because you meditate. Ooops. There are many ways to get to the top of the mountain. Remember that and have a dose of humility.

7. Your life will change. Hopefully for the better. You’ll start seeing the world in a different way. You can still have bad days; you will still cry, get angry, and feel like everything is falling apart around you. You will also gain the broader perspective to appreciate the disasters, to see the rainbow in the storm, to feel as you are crying that you are letting go of something to make space for something better. You will recognize that grief is not as bad as you used to think it was; that it’s just another aspect of yourself expressing itself. It is part of the spectrum of being ALIVE, and you can become more accepting of it in yourself, as well as others.

These are the simple words of someone who has spent much of her savings training in meditating, and though it has not afforded her a four-bedroom house with a large yard and a new Yaris, she has found it worthwhile.

Arvigo Abdominal Therapy

The Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy

are founded on an ancient Maya technique of abdominal massage. This technique is performed externally by gently guiding and supporting organs back into their optimal position, allowing for improved functioning for optimal health and wellness.

Arvigo Therapy is best known for addressing misalignment or congestion in the reproductive organs of both men and women, as well as many common digestive disorders. The techniques effectively alleviate tissue congestion and organ constriction to improve the vital flows of energy, blood, lymph and nerves in the abdomen. They address and can release emotional and energetic tension from the abdomen. This assists to prevent the progression of chronic disease symptomology while improving the body’s ability to SELF REPAIR and BALANCE.
Who can benefit from Arvigo Maya Abdominal Therapy?

Everyone (infancy to elderly) who experiences:

-Digestive disorders including Crohn’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, Gastritis, Constipation, Indigestion

-Muscular Tension

Urinary System including incontinence, frequent urinary infections

-Varicose Veins

-Fertility Enhancement

Post Surgical such as scar tissue and recovery

Women who experience:

-Menstrual disorders such as painful or irregular periods

-Pre-conception through postpartum

-Discomforts of pregnancy; labor and birth preparation

-C-section and hysterectomy surgery recovery


-Pelvic organ congestion such as endometriosis, cysts, fibroids

-Polycystic ovarian syndrome

-Chronic bladder/yeast infections

-Pelvic organ prolapse
Book Your Appointment
What to expect during a session

Comprehensive review of your past and present healthcare needs focusing on reproductive and digestive health

Upper and lower abdominal therapy including Tuina, a style of east asian massage, and acupressure

This can have the potential benefit of helping to ALIGN reproductive and abdominal organs to optimal position, IMPROVE circulation to organs, and PROMOTE vital flow to support the body’s inherent healing capacity.

Evaluation of pelvic alignment and application of bodywork to improve pelvic alignment when indicated

Instruction in self-care massage to enhance your professional session.

Recommendations of complimentary supportive modalities such as nutritional and herbal therapies to support your health and wellness

Your Arvigo practitioner will work with you to address your specific needs. Typically, 2-3 professional sessions as a minimum are required to address most conditions. Clients who perform their self-care tools on a routine basis report an improvement in their symptoms.

This is a powerful manual therapy which focuses on abdominal and pelvic health. By encouraging proper alignment, circulatory, and lymphatic flow it is able to improve a wide range of symptoms including irregular menstruation, prolapse, cysts, fibroids, difficulty conceiving, low back pain, digestive issues, anxiety, restricted breathing due to tension, and headaches. It has become well known in particular for supporting fertility and IUI/IVF. I really do love this work and find that most who come to see me, even for acupuncture benefit greatly from having a few of these sessions. While acupuncture is very accumulative and you start to notice changes after a few sessions, it is common to notice a difference even after the first Arvigo session. If there is enough time in your first session you will even learn practices that you can do at home!

Chakras and Acupuncture Points

Photo by Navneet Shanu

India and many Asian countries have a longstanding understanding of the body that includes pathways of energy flows. These are separate from circulatory, neural, and lymphatic pathways. With the advance of technology an increasing number of people are coming to believe these to be electromagnetic pathways of the body comparable to what an EKG measures. Chakras, which translate as “wheels” and acupuncture points are locations along these pathways that seem to have a stronger and particular influence. It’s an interesting way to think about it; that these points regulate energy through the meridians.

But what are they influencing? This is where modern scientific-based reductionist medicine deviates from more historical systems. Many of us grew up believing the body is just a collection of physical cells, which combined are tissues which combined create organs, etc. There are chemical and physical processes happening within and between the cells that on a grand scale influence the entire body. More traditional systems view people as more than physical bodies and these meridians and centers as not only influencing the physical, but also the emotional and psycho-spiritual. I have often noticed both as practitioner and client that in treating the physical there is often an emotional aspect. The body may twitch here and there in a session as the nervous system releases, and in the moments and days during and after, the individual may be aware of subtle emotions. In these moments we have the options of shutting down and not feeling, really focusing on the emotions and stories that often go with them, or just being lightly aware of them as the whole system cleans and recalibrates.

Change Your Relationship With Grief

I don’t remember Springs being this rainy. I tend to think of them as being such an enlivening joyful time. Yet, this Spring I’m aware of people around me facing a number of challenges. It has me thinking of shadowwork. There are a number of interpretations on what constitutes shadowwork. I understand it as looking at the parts of ourselves that we don’t accept. There is value in doing this in that there tends to be fear and shame around these unlooked at and un-integrated parts of ourselves. Owning these parts of ourselves can be empowering and bring more ease to our lives.

Here is an example: When we can be okay with our own anger, when we can be okay with the parts of ourselves that want to get angry and want to make a scene, we don’t get as upset with the anger of others. It loses it’s charge. We also don’t get as upset with our escaped anger. I remember when I used to get angry – I’d get even more upset that someone had pushed me that far; beyond control!

Grief is another example. This rainy weather can really bring out our grief. Part of the negative experience of grief is our relationship to it. We think it’s a bad thing. We bring ourselves more suffering by our beliefs. I remember an Oriental Medicine Professor saying “Tears are just the Liver cleansing itself.” By other accounts the eyes are the gateway to our Hearts. Either way, I tend to see tears as the Body and Soul’s way of letting go of something. Yes, the process can be painful. When we think of it as letting go and making space for something else, the pain becomes more bearable. When we allow ourselves to feel our grief in the present moment, it does not have to build up and become overwhelming later. We can learn to see the beauty in Grief and allow it in ourselves and others.