Blog # 76 Benefit From the Summer Solstice Energy

                               Blog#76: Benefit from Summer Solstice Energy 

 Summer, particularly the two weeks before and after the summer solstice (June 21st) is an extremely energizing time.  In the northern hemisphere, we get the most light from the sun during this time.  Additionally warmth from the sun strongly penetrates the ground and water.  Plants and animals are energized by this solar energy, and so are we.  

 Spring is regarded as the best time for detoxification for good reason:  summer’s gift of vitality will be most helpful in repairing and optimizing health after a good spring detox.  Because virtually everyone has been exposed to various toxic substances, side effects while the body detoxifies and repairs itself are common. 

 Possible side effects from a strong detoxification program may include headache, nasal discharge, abdominal cramps, joint pain, fatigue, skin rash, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, poor mental focus, depression, poor appetite, toxic food cravings, fluid retention, and more.  These side effects are usually mild and brief. 

 Generally, these signs arise because some of the toxic chemicals that have been stored in the body  (in skin, fat, muscle, or even internal organs) are now being released, and the body has to work extra hard in order to process, neutralize, and these substances.  This work takes energy. The highest energy time in the year is summer, especially around the solstice.  

 Some lifestyle choices that can help conserve energy and optimize healing and vitality are 1.eating a balanced, organic, grass-fed, diet, 2. getting plenty of sleep and rest,  3. refraining from overly-demanding physical exercise, 4. instead taking walks, doing yoga, tai chi or chi gong, 5. staying hydrated with organic vegetable and fruit juices and/or pure distilled, filtered or good quality spring water, 6. eating vegetarian or vegan for several weeks or months, 7.  consuming at least 50% of the diet raw, 8. breathing from the diaphragm (belly breathing),  9. spending some time out in the sun every day (avoid sunburn), 10. daily earthing by going barefoot at least for short periods of time, especially on a beach, and 11.  spending as much time as possible away from the city or other sources of pollution and stress, and instead staying among trees (forest bathing).  

 This month’s offer: contact me for help discovering what kind of detoxification program or process would be best for you.  Also, acupuncture treatment is most powerful and effective during the months of June and July, since this is when the most energy is available with which to work.  



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Blog#75 May is Good Posture Month

                                   Blog#75: May is Good Posture Month

                Here’s an exercise to develop and reinforce strong posture

                                                          and balance

The Stork (standing on one leg) must be done with aligned posture in order to improve balance.   Aligned posture means that the neck is retracted and positioned centrally over the torso. The head faces straight ahead, not bent back or forward. Shoulders are gently pulled back, relaxed, and level. The torso is positioned directly over the hips not flexed forward or extended back. Knees are locked but not hyperextended or bent, and the toes point forward. (In reverse stork, the toes of the raised leg point downward.)

 This exercise involves standing on one leg, with the other leg raised so that the thigh is parallel with the floor and the knee is bent 90 degrees. If this exercise is new for you, it would be wise to stand near a wall and steady yourself until it feels comfortable to let go and stand on one leg without assistance. It is best to practice in front of a full-length mirror in order to evaluate and correct posture.

 Also vital for correct practice and optimal balance is diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing. If you tend to chest breathe, and find it difficult to break out of this pattern, then you might consider lying supine and practicing diaphragmatic breathing that way, since almost everyone finds that relatively easy. Breathe slowly and consciously while supine, and your body can gradually learn to breathe abdominally while sitting and then when standing and walking.

 If you find the need to bend your standing knee, wave your arms, sway from side to side or drop your raised leg in order to stay upright when attempting the stork, work on correcting your posture and do the reverse stork for a while. Reverse stork is a “peel-back” of the stork. Here, the lifted thigh is at right angles to the floor and the leg extends behind the body, with the knee bent 90 degrees.

 Difficulty levels of The Stork can be increased almost endlessly. Stork can be held for increasingly long periods of time – for one minute, two minutes, or more on each leg. Arms can be raised above the head, extended out at the sides or behind the body, or even crossed in front of the torso. More challenges can include closing the eyes, standing on a pillow or other soft, slightly uneven surface, and even standing on a half foam roll or half exercise ball.

 It is best to practice stork at least three times per day on each leg. This can be done in all sorts of situations, such as waiting for the bus, standing in line at the grocers, or waiting at the doctor’s office. If a mirror is available, that is always best. Even if you have problems initially holding this position, as long as you practice daily you will be almost certain to hold the stork for increasingly longer periods of time and improve your sense of balance.

 This blog’s offer: contact me with questions about this exercise. You also might consider purchasing the book Stand Taller – Live Longer, by Dr. Steven P. Weiniger.

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Blog#74: It’s Still Spring – Here’s More About Detoxification

  One health problem that is becoming increasingly common is “leaky gut”.   This is a condition of the large and small intestines in which the walls of these internal organ becomes increasingly inflamed and swollen until the intestinal walls become hyper-permeable, allowing larger-than-usual particles to pass into the outer layers of the gut and even out of the intestines entirely.  The particles that pass through the hyper-permeable intestinal walls include microorganisms, partially digested food, and toxins, such as those found in some chemical drugs, preservatives, tobacco, alcohol, and more.  Although many allopathic physicians have not heard of leaky gut, even physicians at Johns Hopkins University write about it, are unsure about how to treat it, since there have not been many scientific studies of this condition.

 Symptoms of this condition include abdominal bloating, chronic constipation or diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, fatigue, body aches, food sensitivities or allergies, headaches, sinus congestion, seasonal allergies, asthma, PMS, and more.  Some holistic pharmacists and physicians link leaky gut to autoimmune illnesses, such as lupus, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease (a severe allergy to gluten).

 Causes of leaky gut most likely include the standard American diet, which is full of processed foods, high in sugar and inflammatory fats and low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Also causative are poor lifestyle habits, such as insufficient sleep, little or no exercise, sitting for long hours before blue screens, and insufficient water consumption.  Other causes may include tobacco and alcohol consumption, some prescription medications, including antibiotics, environmental pollution, and intestinal infections due to yeast, bacteria and other microorganisms.  The strongest factor of all often appears to be mental and emotional stress. 

 Leaky gut is a complex problem.  Several different approaches are usually needed to resolve this issue.  Probiotic foods, such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yoghurt, kefir, apple cider vinegar and high quality probiotic supplements all can be helpful in normalizing the body’s microbiome – the balance of micro-organisms living in the body, especially in the intestines.  Prebiotics, such as asparagus, jicama, beets, okra, leafy greens, and sources of fiber such as psyllium seed husks and sprouted seeds and legumes can all help provide an environment in which “friendly bacteria” can thrive. Healthy lifestyle changes, such as getting enough sleep, stopping alcohol consumption, and learning to relax in stressful situations also are often necessary for a resolution of this problem.  Many people find foods such as high quality home made bone broth and baked organic apples helpful.  Processed foods must be eliminated from the diet until the problem is resolved. Since the gut is inflamed and compromised, it is also vital to remove all foods to which the person is sensitive or allergic.  In most cases, all dairy, gluten and GMO foods must be eliminated from the diet for an extended period of time.  Sometimes soy and corn will need to go, as well as fried foods and any natural or artificial sweeteners. 

 Fortunately, after several months or years of this treatment, people are usually able to include some of these foods into their diets again, but not always.  Depending on how long the condition has persisted and how much damage has been done to the body, a person may need to permanently eliminate some of these foods from their diet in order to remain healthy. Often acupuncture helps leaky gut resolve more quickly, as long as people also observe appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes. 

 This week’s offer: contact me for some great recipes for bone broth and green smoothies.  I also can give you suggestions about a detoxification program and for fiber supplements. 

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Blog#73 Its Spring – Seven Ways to Detoxify

Blog#73: It’s Spring – Seven Ways to Detoxify

Spring is known as the best time of the year to detoxify to improve health and increase vitality. Out of the plethora of detoxification methods, I have chosen seven that are gentle and effective.

Three day raw apple detox. Suitable for everyone. In this detox, only organic, raw apples, (preferably green apples, such as Granny Smith) are eaten for three days, along with as much water as desired. No tea, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, sugar or juice – just purified water (distilled, filtered, bottled) and organic apples, as many as desired. Leading up to this detox, observe one day as vegetarian/vegan and one day as raw food only. Then start the detox. On day four consume only raw vegetarian foods, and on day five observe a vegetarian diet. Return to normal, but hopefully improved diet on day six.

One week organic vegan diet. Suitable for omnivores and vegetarians. It’s just what it sounds like. All organic, no processed foods, as much water, tea, juices as desired. Hopefully at the end of this detox, there will be a desire to eat a little more healthfully.

One to four week raw foods diet. Suitable for just about anyone, unless they have difficulty digesting raw foods. This could include raw fish or meat (be careful) as well as raw dairy and raw eggs (once again, be careful). It would be more likely to be composed of vegetable based food (grains, nuts, seeds, beans, herbs, fruit, vegetables). Four weeks can result in some impressive healing from infections such as fungi and also might reduce or eliminate many sinus problems for quite a while. Afterward, hopefully a diet with a higher percentage of raw food will be appealing.

Three day organic juice fast. This is not a true fast, though it is a fast from solid food. It gives the digestive system a chance to rest and rejuvenate. Only organic juices and water are to be consumed. Preferably, the juices would be raw, since this will yield much better results.

One to five day water fast. This is a true fast. It is not right for everyone. If someone is over 65 years of age, or if they take certain medications that are best utilized when a person eats food, then this would not be a good fit. It is essential to break this fast appropriately – with organic juice and then with fresh fruit or vegetables on the first day. Even the second day would preferably be vegetarian, adding cooked foods if the person does not follow a raw diet already. When they return to their regular diet, it would be best if it is a little cleaner than before.

Information fast. Good for everyone, especially information addicts. Yep, no information for however long you choose, but at least for 24 hours. No TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, internet, smart phone, landline phone, newsletters, blogs, classes, computer smart cars, etc. This will give the mind a much-needed rest and also set the scene for greater creativity in the future. Some people take a primitive camping trip. That will do the trick, for sure. Consider some forest bathing or earthing on the vacation/fast.

Fast from Y-fi and other harmful energies. Good for everyone who is currently exposed to these energies. Stay home from the office for a few days. Unplug Y-fi and computer, do not use cell phone.  Even better – arrange to spend several days away from homes, office buildings, Smartphones, even traffic lights. This helps take a burden off the nervous system as well as the mind and emotions.

This month’s blog offer: Call or email me with questions regarding the detox of your choice. Consider a 21-Day Standard Process detoxification program – ask me about that also.

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Blog#72 Strong Posture Can Improve Your Life

                          Blog#72: Strong Posture Can Improve Your Life

Strong posture involves standing, sitting and doing other activities with as much stability, comfort, symmetry, and vitality as possible for each individual. Every one who can stand up is balanced; otherwise they would fall down. But they might not be balanced in a strong, stable way. According to Dr. Steven Weiniger, founder of the Strong Posture program, “strong posture” requires three elements: optimal balance, alignment, and movement, (BAM).

 In today’s world, fewer and fewer people have optimal posture. People bend over, texting on smart phones, sit at desks working on computers, and slouch while standing in lines for the bus the bank, appointments, and more. Increasing numbers of people have forward head posture, which is just what it sounds like. When the head is forward, the body is not well aligned. As a result, the center of gravity is compromised and balance is not as stable as it could be.

 Also, in today’s stressed, rushed world, less and less people breathe abdominally. Instead, they engage in more shallow chest breathing. When core muscles are engaged in deep abdominal breathing, the body is more balanced and stable than it would be with chest breathing.   Motion is also important, since this is how bones are strengthened and muscles are toned, blood and lymph are circulated, the nervous system is best balanced and utilized, and internal organs are efficiently massaged, detoxified and replenished.

 Increasingly, it is being said that sitting is the new smoking. There is a significant amount of truth to this. If the body is folded for many hours each day, the fold becomes increasingly indelible. The heart is not exercised as much as it needs to be. The intestines and other internal organs are not massaged as often as they need to be to stay healthy. The spine is impacted due to lack of blood circulation and insufficient muscle tone and stability. Vertebrae become inflamed, less dense, and more poorly aligned.

 With toned muscles, optimal alignment and good balance, the elderly are less likely to suffer spinal compression fractures or falls. They are also less likely to loose inches in height. As a result, they will tend to enjoy longer and better quality lives than those who do not have good balance, alignment and motion.

 Strong posture training involves daily exercises lasting about 20 minutes total. Over time, these exercises will help improve the body’s stability and also improve resilience and coordination in those who choose to engage in other types of more challenging exercise, such as playing in sports or daily yoga practice.   The “strong posture” program also involves taking photos every month or several months against a grid. This will track changes in posture as a person becomes stronger, more stable, and more aligned.

 One rather simple exercise that I can share in this blog is the stork: the person stands on one leg with the other leg flexed at both hip and knee. The thigh of the raised leg is parallel with the floor. If the person needs to wave their arms or leans from side to side to keep from falling, then a “peel-back” is taught first. The stork is done three times a day, for an equal amount of time on each leg, and for increasingly long time intervals. As the person becomes more proficient, many variations are introduced to keep the exercise challenging. It is important that posture should be good when doing any of these exercises. The head should not be held forward, the shoulders should be level, and so on.

 This blog’s offer: contact me with any questions about this exercise or about the Strong Posture program. I teach the series of exercises and also use a grid to help measure and evaluate progress.


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Blog#71: Earthing – A Re-connection

                              Blog#71: Earthing – A Re-connection

 What do chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga, tai chi and chi gong all have in common? Lots of things, including helping facilitate physical, mental and emotional healing and facilitating strength, longevity, and balance. Balance is unwavering stability when standing, walking, climbing, running and even standing on one leg. In past years or today, in cultures living in natural, rural settings, earthing is part of daily life. Earthing includes walking barefoot on the ground, sitting and sleeping on the earth, growing or hunting one’s own food, swimming in natural bodies of water, and walking long distances barefoot or wearing leather or cloth-soled shoes or moccasins.

 Western civilization’s more urban, industrial setting prevents earthing in many ways. People wear rubber soled-shoes, live many floors up from the ground, ride in cars, planes, trains, buses and other public transportation rather than walking, sleep indoors on synthetic beds, buy food from the supermarket, and swim in human-made swimming pools, to name just a few problematic things.

 Healing exercises and arts such as tai chi, chi gong, and yoga help us reconnect to the earth by improving our balance and helping us perceive and utilize the energy arising from the ground. They also help us connect with the energy in the air around us, as well as that within our own minds. Skilled practitioners use acupuncture and chiropractic to help us feel and benefit from our connection to the earth’s energy and our own energy systems. Chiropractic especially helps us improve our posture and balance.

 There are some relatively new therapeutic devices that help connect us to the earth’s energy. These earthing devices include mats, sheets, throws, bands, and clothing that are inlaid with conductive metals, usually silver, and are plugged connected via a cord into the grounding part of an electrical outlet or else directly into the ground via a window or door. Theses devices are reputed to help alleviate pain, normalize the immune system, improve sleep, enhance detoxification, calm the mind, and improve circulation by thinning the blood. Some caveats: they may magnify the effects of certain medications, such as prescription thyroid or blood thinners. If used for longer than appropriate time periods, they can overwhelm the body with heavy detoxification.

 All of us can begin earthing by standing and/or walking barefoot on the ground, gardening with our bare hands, walking more often and riding less, sitting on the earth, perhaps underneath trees, camping out in the wilderness, and generally spending more time in rural or natural settings. We are fortunate to have numerous natural settings within the city of Chicago in the form of parks, forest preserves, and nature centers. Take advantage of them and notice their calming and strengthening influence.

 This blog’s offer: contact me with questions about earthing, including chiropractic, acupuncture, chi gong, tai chi yoga, and Earthing devices.

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Blog#70 Help Balance Mind and Body with Forest Bathing

Today, when vast expanses of wilderness are being destroyed by pollution or plundered for fuel, housing, and food for earth’s exploding population, Forest Bathing, or Shinrin-Yoku, as it is called in Japan, is gaining popularity in the US, Europe, Australia, Japan, Korea, and Central America, among other places.  So many scientific studies have documented the health benefits of Forest Bathing that doctors across the world now write prescriptions for it.  Forest Bathing involves spending time in a wooded area, relaxing and tuning into sights, sounds, scents, tastes, and tactile sensations while relaxing in a wooded area. Benefits include diminished stress, depression and anxiety, lowered blood pressure, improved or even normalized blood sugar levels, and strengthened immune response to threats such as infections and cancer. 

Forest bathing involves walking at a very leisurely pace in a wilderness or park area that is as free of pollution and distraction as possible.  Focus is on the therapeutic aspect of the experience.  There are no destination or time constraints.  Instead, people walk slowly, and may sit down or lie down on the ground.  They may close their eyes for a few minutes and then open them, looking around as if for the first time.  They may notice unusual leaves, the sound of wind rustling branches, distinctive bird calls, the scent of earth, or the sensation of a tiny ant crawling over their hand.

Increasingly, people are turning to trained guides to lead them.  There are now quite a few schools that offer certification training as forest guides throughout the world.  Most guides work in the counseling or health care fields. Finland launched a government-supported taskforce on forests and human health in 2007. Things went global with the International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine (INFOM) in 2011. A North American chapter was established in 2013. 

PubMed returns well over 100 studies on the health benefits of forest bathing, including studies indicating that it significantly lowers blood pressure (-1.4 percent), heart rate (-5.8 percent), cortisol levels (-12.4 percent) and sympathetic nerve activity (-7 percent) compared with city walks, while also alleviating stress and depression.  Some studies conclude that exposure to phytoncides, the airborne, aromatic chemicals/oils emitted by many trees, have a long-lasting impact on people’s immune system markers, boosting natural killer (NK) cells and anticancer proteins by 40 percent.

As the amount and quality of wilderness areas diminishes and as more anti-biotic-resistant bacteria develop, Forest Bathing may play an increasingly significant role in the world healthcare system.  Physicians and therapists are increasingly prescribing time in parks and forests, as was common before the pharmaceutical era.  Studies have found that a retreat of two to three days is optimal, and some benefits last a month or more. In Japan and Korea, Forest Therapies are integrated into the healthcare system and covered by insurance. 

This blog’s offer:  each month, I lead a Nature Writing Group at the North Park Village Nature Center at 5801 North Pulaski Road, in Chicago.  After sharing our writing, we go for a leisurely walk in the nature preserve.  We next meet on Sunday, January 28th from 11 am until 1 pm, by the fireplace.  Feel free to join us.  If you have any questions about this please email or call my office.  Happy Holiday season and New Year to you.




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