Chinese Medicine Weaves Spring with the Wood Element

Written by: Shira Dobratz L.Ac. 

Spring. Warm breezes. Birds chirping. Flowers and sunshine. Nature reminding us of hope and new beginnings.

In Chinese Medicine spring is tied to the element of Wood.  Twigs and plants that grow up through the cracks of measured cement pavements, and the way plants and trees respond to wind both give insight into the Wood element.  Lush green life on a mission for sunlight can not be stopped! No matter the wind, trees hold their ground, firmly rooted into the earth, yet with free and easy response to the strength and direction of the wind. This is the wood element doing what it's designed to do and being what its designed to be, centered, goal oriented, flexible, courageous and resilient.

We have similarities to the journey of greenery. We too are on a mission to grow, we too have a propelling need to be nurtured and sustained, we too face many obstacles in our desire to thrive,  we too feel tested by the pressure and intensity of many winds upon us. Strong emotions like stress and frustration can surface for many of us in that process.   Seeking balance in this season includes turning from harsh and relentless self-direction and instead towards peace, harmony,  and supple reactions. Slowing down in the spring can give us time to harness the creative vision, strategic brilliance, courage and confidence that are gifts of a healthy Wood element. In balance we are not caught up in a frenetic and exhausted knot from all the movements and changes, excitements and pressures, but instead can move through the diverse winds with grace, ease, and kindness to others and ourselves.  

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help balance these energies within us, as well as Pranayama, Yin styles of yoga, fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables, whole grains like brown rice with ghee or sesame oil, a decrease in alcohol and caffeine consumption, drinking plenty of water, getting a little extra rest, soaking in salt baths, and beginning collaborative endeavors with friends or family. 

The Libido Recharge, Part I

By Dr. Dana Price DOM, Dipl.O.M., L.Ac.

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The #metoo movement has really opened my eyes to how prevalent sexual trauma is for girls and women in our society with incidents ranging to very forceful and overt, to the subtle sprinklings on day to day life. I have my #metoo experiences and have been investigating how these experiences have encouraged me to suppress and shut down my fierce, blossoming and powerful sexual force. I wonder what the fully unhindered and empowered sexual me would look like. I do not have the answers and know that this process will unfold and recreate itself with time- as the feminine does. I encourage you, during this month of the expression of love and coupledom, to look within and investigate your sexual energy and what you would look like to be fully unencumbered and empowered.

I am engrained in Chinese medicine and have spent my adult life viewing the world through the interplay of Yin and Yang. A dark and cold wintry day is an opportunity to go within and nourish the Yin, a day that I want to be outside riding my bike in the wind of a sunny spring day gets my Yang recharged. Mental, physical and emotional health arises out of this interplay and when something is off- your Yin/Yang balance is disrupted.

So what happens when there is the lack of desire to have a fulfilling sexual experience or your body just does not respond? There are reasons related to unresolved trauma that are beyond the scope of this blog, so I am going to address the Yin/Yang imbalance that can arise and manifest as three main patterns. The first and most common is being too stressed and therefore your Qi (part of the Yang system) gets stuck. The second is not feeling from Yin deficiency and a woman can not feel sexy and confident enough for sex, and thirdly being Yang deficient and too tired for sex. In this first part of a series of three we will take a look at the libido being suppressed because of stress.

If you are feeling too stressed for sex you need to get your stuck Qi moving. In particular we call it your Liver Qi. Something I hear from my patients is that the desire for sex is low until they get warmed up and once they get going everything is fine. This is Qi stagnation. The Qi gets moving and you feel better.

Exercise is great for this. Get your blood pumping and do higher intensity endurance exercises like power yoga, running, spin class and the like. Be sure to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day and get your 10,000 steps in per day.

A plant based diet is best; focusing on 70-80% of each meal as vegetable based, while avoiding dairy and refined foods. Good foods to move Qi include: broccoli, cauliflower peppermint, radish, tomato, celery, asparagus, lemon, brown rice and chia seeds. Avoid caffeine, that morning coffee stagnates Qi and is infamous for exacerbating PMS symptoms and fibrocystic breasts. If you need the ritual of coffee I recommend organic cold-brew.

Avoid toxins: skip the plastic bottles, check and see what you are putting on your body- go organic as much as possible on all of your beauty products. To find what is best check out the Skin Dee section of www.ewg.org. Also, change your pads and tampons to organic, if you do nothing else do this.

Meditate and have some downtime. Where is your happy place? A nice bath, reading a book, having sex? Spend some time each day nourishing yourself.

Supplement with some vitamins: calcium and B vitamins get depleted with stress so make sure that in addition to taking your multivitamin you take extra calcium and a B complex.

Acupuncture & Massage: here at ilumina we work with stress and anxiety on a daily basis and we know that our acupuncture and massage really help break the stress cycle and sustain relaxation. Even better is to supplement these therapies with Chinese herbs.

If you find that you fit into this imbalance of Qi stagnation give yourself 3 months to journal on your vision of your full sexual expression, exercise, eat clean, meditate, and follow the other steps and see the change.

In my next two blogs I will write on the other two patterns that are frequently encountered at ilumina. 

Need a Resolution? Personal Responsibility for Proactive Health Care in 2017

No matter your personal feelings about the outcome of the election, one thing is sure to be true: health care as we know it is changing. Actually, there has been a slow, but steady change in premiums, deductibles, covered benefits and out-of-pocket expenses over the past decade with the net effect that patients are shouldering more and more of the financial responsibility. On the other hand, care seems to be less personal, with less provider continuity and less time allocated for patient appointments and follow-up. This has led many government officials, providers, and patients to call for reform. Unfortunately, there appears to be little consensus on how to fix the problems and more concerning is the question as to whether our current system can even be fixed?

 

One thing that seems to be clear is that most of the illnesses Americans are struggling with are those related at least partially to lifestyle and thus potentially preventable. By modifying our habits and keeping an eye towards prevention, we can significantly decrease our risk of the most expensive and debilitating illnesses. Recently, the CDC named “heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis as the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems”. For example, according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US, affecting over 30 million adults and a growing number of children. These figures relate to what is known as Type 2 diabetes, a largely preventable condition that also significantly impacts the risk of cardiovascular disease. Another nearly 100 million Americans have pre-diabetes. Medication to control diabetes can exceed $250 per month and combined with the costs of regular doctors visits, and related medication for blood pressure and cholesterol, it may be possible to spend $5000 per year to manage this one condition.

 

On the other hand, what would happen if this money were spent on improving individual general health and wellness; efforts to improve diet, manage weight, and decrease stress. In doing so, we can decrease our risk for all the aforementioned conditions named by the CDC and therefore improve overall health and quality of life, maybe even avoiding medications altogether.

 

This is a laudable goal and not an easy one to achieve. It requires us to shift our focus from a reactive, treatment-focused approach to health care to a proactive, preventive approach where the patient takes responsibility for her own health, utilizing the medical system for support and guidance along the way. It is important to acknowledge that even with our best efforts, not all disease can be prevented, but by taking an active role in partnering with providers to improve health as much as possible, significant progress can be made. By addressing symptoms early, being informed about family medical history and disease risks, screening for blood pressure, glucose, weight, and nutritional deficiencies, and following recommendations for cancer screening, you can significantly impact your risk for chronic disease in the face of the changing health care landscape.

 

2017 is the year of the fire rooster, a sign of dawn and awakening, of triumph and success, only achievable through hard work and patience. We at Ilumina are committed to prevention and proactive care, happy to help guide you to improve your general health and address specific concerns through our naturopathic and Chinese medicine services with diet, exercise, and supplement advice, acupuncture, massage, and meditation. Together, we can work to make 2017 your healthiest year yet.

Ten Reasons to Meditate and Practice Mindfulness (and how to do it)

Ten Reasons to Meditate and practice Mindfulness (and how to do it)

1) Increases blood flow, lowers respiration rate, slows heart rate 2) Decreases heart rate 3) Reduces stress, anxiety and aggression 4) Enhances the immune system 5) Harmonizes the endocrine (hormonal) system 6) Relaxes the nervous system 7) Improves brain function and electrical activity 8) Reduces stress and balances hormones to stimulate ovulation 9) Improves learning ability and memory and increases productivity 10) Improves relationships with others

Mindfulness Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

This exercise is very simple, but the power, the result, can be very great. The exercise is simply to identify the in-breath as in-breath and the out-breath as the out-breath. When you breathe in, you know that this is your in-breath. When you breathe out, you are mindful that this is your out-breath. Just recognize: this is an in-breath, this is an out-breath. Very simple, very easy. In order to recognize your in-breath as in-breath, you have to bring your mind home to yourself. What is recognizing your in-breath is your mind, and the object of your mind—the object of your mindfulness—is the in-breath. Mindfulness is always mindful of something. When you drink your tea mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of drinking. When you walk mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of walking. And when you breathe mindfully, that is mindfulness of breathing. So the object of your mindfulness is your breath, and you just focus your attention on it. Breathing in, this is my in-breath. Breathing out, this is my out-breath. When you do that, the mental discourse will stop. You don’t think anymore. You don’t have to make an effort to stop your thinking; you bring your attention to your in-breath and the mental discourse just stops. That is the miracle of the practice. You don’t think of the past anymore. You don’t think of the future. You don’t think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath. It gets even better. You can enjoy your in-breath. The practice can be pleasant, joyful. Someone who is dead cannot take any more in-breaths. But you are alive. You are breathing in, and while breathing in, you know that you are alive. The in-breath can be a celebration of the fact that you are alive, so it can be very joyful. When you are joyful and happy, you don’t feel that you have to make any effort at all. I am alive; I am breathing in. To be still alive is a miracle. The greatest of all miracles is to be alive, and when you breathe in, you touch that miracle. Therefore, your breathing can be a celebration of life. An in-breath may take three, four, five seconds, it depends. That’s time to be alive, time to enjoy your breath. You don’t have to interfere with your breathing. If your in-breath is short, allow it to be short. If your out-breath is long, let it to be long. Don’t try to force it. The practice is simple recognition of the in-breath and the out-breath. That is good enough. It will have a powerful effect.

This meditation instruction excerpted from the Shambhala Sun website. http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=3490

Lecture Series Aug 13: Mayan Abdominal Massage

Mayan Abdominal Massage is an external, non-invasive massage modality that specifically addresses the uterine position and other internal organs to support the optimal flow of blood, lymph, and chi throughout the body.Some common symptoms/conditions this type of massage can benefit include displaced or prolapsed uterus or bladder, infertility, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids, as well as pelvic or abdominal pain from previous surgeries or scar tissue. Join us August 13, at 6:00 pm at ilumina to learn more about this modality and how it can be a benefit to you. Spaces will be limited so please call 602-957-2602 to reserve your spot.

We are very excited to have the lecture series back in action, we are currently putting together a schedule of topics that promise to be informative and promising.

Also heading your way is a Infant Massage Class taught by our amazing massage therapist Audrey Blanchard.

Keep Cool with Chilled Nourishment

As temperatures rise here in Phoenix, chilled soups are a great way to cool down and utilize all the fresh produce that is available during summer months. I recommend using fresh local, organic ingredients whenever possible for the recipes listed here. Both of these chilled soups are great for a light lunch option, or a starter to your evening meal. Cucumber Avocado Soup

Serves 4

4 large cucumbers, cleaned and peeled, seeds removed

4 celery stalks, chopped

1 avocado, peeled and pitted

¼ c. chopped dill (optional)

¼ c. fresh squeezed lemon juice

4 c. purified water

Put all ingredients in the blender and whir until creamy smooth. Pour into bowls and serve.

Additional notes: Cucumbers have a high water content which gives them diuretic properties, as well as cooling qualities in Chinese Medicine.

Spanish Gazpacho

Serves 5-6

¼ c. cold-pressed olive oil

6 medium fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large bell peeper, yellow or red, chopped

1 medium clove garlic

1 cucumber, seeded and chopped

4 basil leaves

1 T. Sea salt

1 large carrot, shredded

¼ c. apple cider vinegar

¼ t. Tabasco or sririacha to taste (for an extra kick)

Chopped fresh basil, chopped avocado, and/or parsley for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until blended but still chunky. Remove half of soup, and puree remainder well. Combine both mixtures, stir, chill for 1 hour and serve in individual servings.

This is a great spicy summer soup with healthy fats; the apple cider vinegar helps to reduce blood sugars as well.

Q. I have had recurrent shoulder pain for 2 years. I am a tennis player and at times I am unable to play due to the pain. Can acupuncture help me?

A. Yes. The shoulder’s muscles, tendons and ligaments are prone to a variety of repetitive stress, trauma and degenerative problems. Pain and restricted range of motion are the most common symptoms. There is now evidence that shows acupuncture treats pain. Dr. Bruce Pomerantz, a neurophysicist, holds the theory that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s own natural painkiller. For treating shoulder pain, we give a series of acupuncture treatments that work together to build the release of these endorphins. Along with the acupuncture, we often include Chinese medical massage for tendinitis; cupping for myofascial release, and needling trigger/motor points.

Our goal is to find the shortest route to your full recovery.

Aging and Longevity, Free Informational Evening

Join us at ilumina Healing Sanctuary on Monday, May 14th from 6 to 7 pm for a talk and demonstration on the many benefits of acupuncture in regards to our aging process.  It is all part of a natural progression and acupuncture can increase the quality of the process.  Catherine Travis, L.Ac will share with us the wisdom she has gained over 30 years as a practitioner.  Don't just live, THRIVE.

Five Top Men's Health Concerns and How Acupuncture Can Help

Acupuncture has been used to treat men's health concerns for thousands of years and is growing in popularity. The reason for this growth in popularity is that many health issues that men face, such as high blood pressure, prostate problems and depression, respond extremely well to acupuncture treatments. Here is a list of five health issues that affect men and how acupuncture can help:

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading men's health threat with heart disease and stroke topping the list of the first and second leading causes of death worldwide. By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart healthy lifestyle, you can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Taking small steps to improve your health can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by as much as eighty percent. Steps to prevention include managing high blood pressure, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress and improved sleep - all of which can be helped with acupuncture.

Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers have been able to stimulate the release of opioids, which decreases the heart's activity and its need for oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in men. Tobacco smoke causes ninety percent of all lung cancers. If you are ready to quit smoking, acupuncture can help.

Acupuncture has shown to be an effective treatment for smoking. Acupuncture treatments for addiction and smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness; symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.

In one study on substance addiction, a team from Yale University successfully used auricular (ear) acupuncture to treat cocaine addiction. Results showed that fifty-five percent of participants tested free of cocaine during the last week of treatment, compared to twenty-four percent and nine percent in the two control groups. Those who completed acupuncture treatment also had longer periods of sustained abstinence compared to participants in the control groups.

Prostate Health

The prostate is prone to enlargement and inflammation as men age, affecting about half of men in their sixties and up to ninety percent of men as they approach their seventies and eighties. If left untreated, benign prostate gland enlargement, which presents with symptoms such as frequent nighttime urination, painful urination, and difficult urination, can lead to more serious conditions such as prostate cancer, urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones, and incontinence.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to treat prostate problems to relieve the urinary symptoms and prevent the more serious conditions from occurring. The few studies completed on acupuncture and prostatitis show positive results with participants noticing an marked improvement in their quality of life, decrease in urinary difficulties, and an increase in urinary function.

Depression and Mental Health

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death among all men; for young men it's higher. While experts previously thought depression affected far more women than men, it is now believed that that men's tendency to hide depressed feelings and not seek professional help has skewed the numbers.

When suffering from depression, brain chemicals and stress hormones are out of balance. Sleep, appetite, and energy level are all disturbed. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can alleviate symptoms associated with depression and mental health issues by helping to rebalance the body's internal environment.

The growing body of research supporting the positive effects of acupuncture on depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain syndrome is so strong that the military now uses acupuncture to treat troops with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat stress syndrome.

Sexual Health

While sexual health concerns may not be life threatening, they can still signal significant health problems. Two-thirds of men older than seventy and up to thirty-nine percent of forty year old men report having problems with their sexual health.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are well known for improving men's sexual performance; in fact, there have been medical textbooks devoted to the subject. Chinese Emperors took their sexual health quite seriously and would consult with a team of physicians if they experienced any difficulties in the bedroom.

Acupuncture can be used to treat premature ejaculation, low sperm count, diminished sperm motility, erectile dysfunction, male climacteric (menopause) and increase libido.

Written by: Diane Joswick, L.Ac.

www.acufinder.com

Sugar And Fertility: What Do They Have In Common?

Calling all you soda, candy, doughnut, cookie loving people.  I have a couple of questions for you. When you are feeling hungry and/or tired and in need of an energy boost at 3 or 4 pm, what do you do? Do you reach for a candy bar, soda, or sugary snack for that sudden boost of energy? That will definitely provide the instant boost of energy that you are looking for, but it will shortly be followed by a feeling of hunger, tiredness, and/or depression.  This is what we call the sugar roller coaster ride.  I am sure many of you have felt this; I know I have.

For me, the roller coaster ride on many occasions has left me feeling dizzy, headachey, and nauseous, but also left me feeling somewhat exhilarated.  Although the ride is quite fun at times, especially while you slowly creep up the big hill in anticipation of the BIG drop, the sudden plunge downwards leaves my stomach on the floor, and can make me feel yucky. The adrenaline rush felt for the 2 minutes usually leaves me feeling sick for about 2 hours. The sugar roller coaster that you are currently on is definitely something that is going to leave you feeling sick and yucky.  This ride can be the cause for many health issues such as weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and infertility.

The Nurse’s Health Study, referenced in The Fertility Diet, by Jorge Chavarro, MD and Walter Willet, MD have proven that sugar, especially certain kinds of sugars, have a large impact on reproductive health.  Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition that can be brought on by insulin resistance, which is caused by the consumption of too much sugar. Insulin resistance equals hormonal imbalances. The body has to work overtime when you make the decision to have a soda for breakfast, white bread sandwich for lunch, candy bar for a snack, or white rice for dinner.

So you ask, what should I eat for my health, happiness, and reproductive health? The answer is complex - literally: complex carbohydrates/sugars (not simple ones) are the way to go.  My definition of complex carbs is fiber-filled food paired with a starch or sugar that exists naturally in nature. The less refined the carb, the better it is for you, and that goes for most foods.  For example, whole wheat and brown rice have the fiber needed for your body to digest the starch slowly so your blood sugar levels stay even. Even blood sugar levels should be your goal when making food choices everyday.  I know, after suffering from breakdowns in my own body, that complex carbs have helped me to not only resolve my dizzy spells, irregular periods, and moodiness, but I have more energy then ever!

Your body identifies simple carbs/sugars, such as white flour and white rice as sugars. There is no fiber, because it is taken out during the refinement process.  When there is no fiber medium, to help slowly digest the sugar the body goes into emergency mode and digests the sugars very quickly. The sugar provides an immediate boost in energy that your body thinks you require, because you just ate a fiberless starch.  Here is the 411 on how the sugar is processed by your body.

The body quickly breaks down the sugar into glucose and suddenly injects it into the blood stream.  Your blood sugar levels spike the pancreas releases large amounts of insulin. Each cell in your body is able to absorb the glucose, because of the insulin. Once the cells absorb the glucose, blood sugar levels suddenly drop.

Hence the roller coaster feeling described earlier. So think about this - if you fill your day with eating simple carbs, your cells over time will require more and more insulin in order to absorb the same amount of glucose, thus causing insulin resistance.

In summary, here are my top 5 picks for complex carbs (whole grains) and natural sugars to eat in order to enhance your reproductive health, along with regulating your weight, heart health, and just feeling great overall!

Top 5 Whole Grains Top 5 Natural Sugars
Brown Rice Maple Syrup
Buckwheat (Soba Noodles) Honey
Whole Wheat Pasta Brown Rice Syrup
Stoneground Whole Wheat Molasses
Quinoa Stevia (the green kind)

Footnotes:

The Fertility Diet, by Jorge Chavarro, MD and Walter Willet, MD

Written by Kavita Jhaveri-Patel

www.theafa.org

How do nutrition and acupuncture work together to enhance fertility?

Traditional Chinese Medicine expert Alex Goldberg explains how TCM, acupuncture, and what you eat can make it easier to get pregnant. Q: I get regular acupuncture treatments to help me conceive. My acupuncturist recently started talking to me about the role of nutrition – and she mentioned “dampness” in particular. Can you explain how nutrition and acupuncture work together in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to help women get pregnant?

A: As an acupuncturist and herbalist my patients always want to know how nutrition affects their fertility. As your acupuncturist probably told you, nutrition is a very important part of TCM, but when I’m explaining it to my patients I usually like to start with the idea of dampness.

You can think of dampness as a kind of blockage in your body. That obstacle (which isn’t a real physical blockage, like a tumor, but an energetic blockage, according to TCM) means your body has to find other ways to work. Not surprisingly, if the blockage is in your reproductive organs that can make it a lot harder to get pregnant. Dampness can be created by either external or internal factors. Internally, it is directly related to the foods we eat. The main instigators include alcohol; fried, greasy, and spicy foods; cold and raw foods like salads, fruits, and vegetables; and the biggest culprit of them all – dairy, including milk, cream, cheese, and butter. (You can also watch this short video on dampness, created by Dr. Goldberg: http://vimeo.com/31466445)

In TCM, the belief is that the spleen is the key organ in digestion. Think of the spleen as a cast-iron pot that cooks the food you eat. When you continually put food in your body that is cold or raw, your spleen has to “cook” the food before it can use its energy. By eating warm foods you are saving your spleen-energy, which will increase your body’s overall health.

If you eat a dairy food, like a piece of cheese, for example, you can see that it’s heavy and greasy, and even after you wash your hands after holding it you can feel a stickiness between your fingers. Also, when you take that block of cheese out of the refrigerator it’s at about 40ºF, but when you eat it you’ve added a chemical reaction – heat -- because your body is at 98.6ºF.  What happens when you add heat to cheese? It becomes delicious, but it also stretches out, becoming thicker, longer, and greasier, which increases its natural properties (dampness), which adds to that energetic blockage.

With the severe role that blockage already plays in fertility, I generally ask my patients to avoid dairy, and other dampness contributors, as best they can, during the month leading up to and during pregnancy.

Alex Goldberg is a licensed and nationally board-certified acupuncturist and herbalist with a private practice in Brooklyn, New York, Garden Acupuncture. He has studied with Randine Lewis, a premier fertility specialist and is the only TCM practitioner in Brooklyn who has had the esteemed privilege of learning directly under her tutelage.

Written by Lorie A. Parch
www.conceiveonline.com

Yoga for Fertility and Conception

Which type of yoga class has the best possible benefits to aid fertility and conception? By Jaki Nett

—Kelly, Long Beach, California

Jaki Nett's reply: The type of yoga class that I recommend to aid fertility and conception is a restorative class—a class where the body, mind, and spirit learn the art of relaxation. A woman's desire to conceive can be overpowering and can drive her to the point of obsession. If this happens, sometimes logic is overlooked and stress becomes the foundation for coitus.

Since it is the woman's body and mind that has to be healthy and free of stress, it is her responsibility--with the unwavering support of her partner--to create the most favorable conditions for conception. To start the process both partners should have a comprehensive physical and psychological examination to determine that they are both without physical and mental conditions that could block conception.

To further alleviate stress about trying to conceive, start mapping your cycle of fertility. When entering a fertile time, start practicing restorative poses. As you practice, soften the abdominal area and begin to consciously remove tension from around the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

My teacher, Geeta S. Iyengar, author of Yoga a Gem for Women (Allied, Publishers Limited, 1983), writes extensively on women's issues. She stresses the importance of practicing several asanas to aid in conception. Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand), Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand) , and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Supported Bridge Pose) are recommended because of their hypothesized effects on hormonal balance.

She also recommends the following poses:

Forward bends—To make the poses more restorative, place a chair in front of you and rest your head and arms on the seat for support, or use a bolster for support.

Reclining Poses—These poses are helpful because they open and elongate the abdominal area.

I also recommend Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose) after coitus (which will theoretically keep the sperm inside the body and close to the opening of the uterus) to encourage the opportunity for sperm penetration. Before coitus set up for Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose). As you move into and out of the pose, keep the abdominal area soft-your partner can assist you to make this possible. The amount of time you spend in Viparita Karani is up to you.

To set up for Viparita Karani: Fold a sticky mat into quarters and place it two inches from the wall. Place a round bolster or a firm folded blanket on top of the sticky mat with the back edge of the bolster or blanket in line with the back edge of the mat. Place the buttocks on top of the bolster with the sitting bones as close to the wall as possible and the legs up the wall. The tailbone should tilt toward the ceiling so that the vaginal area is pointing upward. The shoulders, arms, and head rest on the floor. Once in the correct pelvic position, allow the legs to soften and bend the knees to allow the abdominal and pelvic floor to relax.

Jaki Nett is a certified Iyengar Yoga instructor in St. Helena, California, and a faculty member of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. She teaches public classes in the San Francisco Bay Area and leads workshops in the United States and Europe, including specialty workshops on female issues. Written by: Jaki Nett

www.yogajournal.com

Fertility and Flame Retardent Chemicals

Scientists have been learning more about environmental hazards and chemicals that can affect fertility, and now they’ve added another potential threat to the list: polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), used as a flame retardant. A recent study of 223 pregnant women, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that those women who had the highest concentration of the chemicals in their blood took longer to become pregnant.PBDEs are surprisingly common, used in foam furniture, electronics, fabrics, carpets, and plastics. Because of safety concerns, most manufacturers have been phasing out their use, but they are still readily found in products made before 2004. PBDEs are also present in some foods, particularly dairy products and higher-fat meat and fish. An earlier study found detectable levels of PBDEs in the blood of 97 percent of Americans.For more information on environmental hazards and fertility, download the free brochure, “Toxic Matters,” by the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) at the University of California, San Francisco, at prhe.ucsf.edu/prhe/tmlinks.html.Written by Conceive EditorsTuesday, 22 June 2010

Eastern Nutrition&Detoxfication Program

Eastern Nutrition ProgramThis is a program that involves the energetics of food to create balance in the body. Learn the Taoist system of the 5 elements and the 5 tastes of food to balance your overall diet. Circumstances that influence dietary choices and habits such as convenience and emotions around eating will be discussed. Food choices, places to shop, and recipes are recommended as well. This program is an overall wellness program that includes nutrition supplements, exercise recommendations and stress management techniques. Three appoints are necessary to receive all of these facets to the program.Detox ProgramThis program is customized for the individual depending on their medical history and their energetic diagnosis. The detox diet includes a clean, balanced combination of foods based on Eastern nutritional principles. Along with the diet includes detox therapies to practice at home, supplements, and tea. The duration of this program is 10-14 days.The detox program includes two different detox plans. Both programs are a whole body detox which cleanses the liver, large intestine, blood, lymph, lungs, skin, and kidneys. One program is more specific to candida that includes a yeast free diet and supplements to clear the body of candida.For more information or to schedule an appointment please call.In Health,Dana Price DOM, L.Ac., Dipl.OM, FABORMilumina Healing Sanctuary7520 E. Camelback RoadScottsdale, Arizona 85251(602)957-2602

Upcoming Events

Please register early for these special events early as space is limited. (ilumina Healing Sanctuary: 602-957-2602) Unless listed, all special events are complimentary but donations are accepted and will take place at ilumina Healing Sanctuary. All donations received will be used to fund microloans for women starting businesses in developing countries through Kiva www.kiva.org.

Monday, June 8th 6:00pm-7:00pmIntroduction to Polarity Therapy with Marion Light

All living things are intricate arrangements of energy. Your physical body, thoughts, and feelings are all patterns of energy. When your energy fields are aligned in smooth-patterned states, their natural expression is health and happiness. However, when the patterns of your energy fields become chaotic or distorted by stressful life experiences, it can have a negative impact on your well-being. Polarity therapy works to restore the intregity and flow of your energy patterns using touch, toning, breathing and communication techniques. A comprehensive system of Eastern and Western modalities, polarity therapyworks to bring your energy field back into thier natural state of alignment.

Come for an evening with Marion Light and learn about the value of having a balanced energy system and how to connect to your own energy and imbalances. You will learn how to listen to your own body's messages and where you might be blocked in your life, on the physical, mental/emotional, financial or spiritual levels.

About Marion Light

www.marionlight.com

Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Marion Light has lived in the United States for 20 years. She has three adult children, a son, Roscoe and twin daughters, Kelsey and Megan.

As a young adult, Marion was a top athlete, selected to play for the national field hockey team. She earned her bachelors degree, with English and Physical Education as a double Major, and received her teaching credentials in South Africa, where she worked as an educator for five years. After moving to the United States, Marion taught physically and mentally challenged children for five years in Los Angeles while earning a Masters Degree in Education at Cal State.

It was after moving to Phoenix that Marion's own health issues compelled her to explore holistic healthcare and alternative therapies. She was drawn to pursue a life in the healing arts, and from that time on, she has felt her life has been divinely guided. She began to follow her intuition and studied energy medicine, including Master level training in polarity, cranial sacral and massage. She also began teaching classes in cranial sacral unwinding, polarity therapy and communications.

Marion feels her practice is the fulfilling of her life's purpose. For over 10 years, she has successfully helped men, women and children find deep relief from depression and anxiety, physical pain, illness, infertility, grief, childhood and sexual abuse, attention deficit disorder and many other issues. She is honored to guide individuals on a journey of self discovery, helping them achieve a greater state of well-being.

ilumina Healing Sanctuary, located in Scottsdale, is a unique clinic that combines acupuncture, Traditional Chinese medicine, emotional wellness, general and fertility massage, and whole food nutrition. We are the only clinic in Arizona with board certified practitioners of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Our highly trained and experiences specialists provide therapies that support the body, mind and spirit through all phases of a women’s life.ilumina Healing Sanctuary7520 E. Camelback RoadScottsdale, Arizona 85251(602)957-2602

Fertility Healing Circle

ilumina Fertility Healing Circle: A Place for Women to Come Togetherilumina Healing Sanctuary is honored to offer a women's healing circle for current patients. Our intention is to create a safe and nurturing environment for women to receive comfort and support in their journeys. Something magical happens when our stories are witnessed in a neutral, loving and supportive environment. This enables us to listen and hear our own wisdom and to share that wisdom with others on the path of good health and emotional healing.The Circle will include guided visualizations and will remain small to ensure personal attention. Meetings will take place from 6:30-8:00 twice a month starting September 15, 2008 for three months. The Fertility Healing Circle will be held at ilumina and guided by Marion Light and Dana Price. For more information on Marion's work please see her website at www.marionlight.com. For more information on Dana Price and ilumina Healing Sanctuary see our website at www.iluminahealing.com.For more information or to sign up for the Fertility Healing Circle please call ilumina Healing Sanctuary at (602)957-2602.

Welcome

Hi, I’m Dana Price, Founder of ilumina, and I want to welcome you to the blog for ilumina Healing Sanctuary. My intention is that this blog be a pathway for information, news and updates, as well as a way for you to get to know us better. We hope that you find it enjoyable and informative.

ilumina is the culmination of a long standing dream. It is the evolution of a practice I started in the summer of 2001. After graduating from Chinese medical school in New Mexico in 1999, I opened a practice in Tucson. While there, I informally interned at the Tucson Medical Center in the labor and delivery department, where I learned as much as I could about pregnancy and birth. During that time, I also developed a relationship with the birth center and taught pregnancy related classes. I provided acupuncture during labor and delivery and treated many women during their pregnancies. This was an invaluable experience and a maturation of my lifelong desire to provide complementary healthcare to women during their reproductive cycle.

In 2000, I moved back to Phoenix, where I was born and raised, to be closer to my family. I accepted a one year position at an established clinic in Scottsdale. When that ended, I again ventured out on my own and created the Southwest Center for Oriental Medicine which became the leading Chinese Medicine center in women’s health. I worked hard to educate the community and its physicians about the safety and benefits of Chinese Medicine. It was during this time that I met Dr. Michael Foley, MD at Phoenix Perinatal Associates. He opened a lot of doors for me in the medical community. Together we petitioned for acupuncture privileges at Good Samaritan and Scottsdale Healthcare Shea. We wanted to gather research on the benefits of acupuncture during high risk pregnancies. And while not granted the privileges we sought, I was able to offer an elective month long study for Ob/Gyn residents at Good Samaritan Medical Center. I also began speaking at medical conferences and publishing in a high risk pregnancy medical textbook. I met with any willing allopathic healthcare practitioner. I was totally committed to spreading the word about Chinese Medicine, and I still am.

Now, I am approaching my tenth year of practice. It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by such gifted healers and physicians and to have supported so many amazing women and couples in their journey to parenthood. I can’t say how fulfilling it is to witness the hope and joy this work can bring to those with reproductive issues, as well as other health issues. I can say now, that my practice has come full circle to my vision. In the details of its design and methods and the complete commitment to patient care, I feel ilumina is the best it can be. I look forward to the future.