Archive for May 2011

If you get acupuncture or massage in BC…

Now’s your chance to speak up!

The BC government is asking for feedback on the HST. That means you can have your voice heard. The referendum is June 24th, but you’ll want to speak up now.

If you get acupuncture and/or massage from BC practitioners, you have been paying 12% HST for close to a year now. Wouldn’t you like to go back to 5% tax or not be taxed at all for these regulated health professions? After all, these services help take the burden off of our overwhelmed healthcare system.

Please make the time to complete the following government HST survey. In the comments box be sure to include the recommendation that Registered Acupuncturists and Traditional Chinese Medicine should be made tax exempt, as an important part of the BC healthcare system.

In addition, there are a series of upcoming HST Public Forums. Attend one of these local events to let the government know your views.


Lecture tonight to answer your questions…

Come learn easy and even fun and yummy ways to detoxify. I will be lecturing with Chef Luisa Rios of Cooking Journeys.

When? Thursday May 12th, 7:30-8:30

Where?, #101-2025 West Broadway

How? Sign up for attendance by calling 604-783-2846 or emailing Last minute attendees welcome too.

These are some of the questions we can answer tonight! If you can make it, bring your questions too. If not, then stay tuned because we will be answering these questions, one a day…
1. What’s your biggest fear of cleansing? (This is a true question for you. We want to hear from you!)

2. Do you ever stop and listen to your body? What does it tell you after every bite?

3. Why is cleansing important?

4. What are the potential benefits of a two-week break from a world of lurking toxins?

5. How can storing too many toxins in your body impact your health?

6. Are the toxins only hiding in food? What about plastics, tins and other food packaging?

7. How many new chemicals have been put on the market since World War II?

8. Do you wonder how to choose the best fruit & veggies at the supermarket?

9. What does your high school biology dissection class have to do with your household?

10. Amongst all the convenient foods, are they a few good ones?

11. What is the most important part of doing a detox?

12. Are there big no-no ingredients that I should always stay away from?

13. What is the most important dietary basic item you need when cleansing?

14. Do you wonder if there are tips to get organized before starting a two-week detox (cleanse)?

15. What common simple supplement can help boost your immune system and help your liver process toxins?

16. Do you think that you can’t eat with all the things that you remove from your diet?

17. Why is fibre important for a cleanse even if you are not constipated?

18. Key tips for putting a meal together.

19. Aside from a cleanse kit with something to help my liver, fibre, and a laxative, what other supplement can help?

20.Looking after the super foods

21.What simple exercise you may have done as a kid can help you detoxify?

22. How do you create a clean kitchen and a clean pantry without the help of “Mr. Clean”?

23. I’ve heard that many household items, including mattresses and carpets, can off gas toxins. What can I do?

24. Clean cooking tips

25. What is the largest single organ of your body and how is it affected by toxins?

26. What are the most common food allergies?

27. What about children? Are they free of toxins?

28. What’s the best appliance in your kitchen and the most under-utilized?

29. List your reasons for doing a cleanse to help you stay on track. Do you want more energy, to prevent disease, to lose weight, to clear your skin, to improve your digestion? Other? (Another one for you to answer for us!)

30. What is mindful shopping, cooking & eating?


Traditional Chinese Medicine Numerology


Yin Yang
Dark Light
Night Day
Moon Sun
Cold Hot
Female Male
Storing/Nurturing Moving/Active


Heaven, Human, Earth

Spirit, Mind, Body

Father, Child, Mother


5 elements

Water Wood Fire Earth Metal
Season Winter Spring Summer Late Summer Autumn
Climatic Qi Cold Wind Heat Damp Dryness
Yang Organ Bladder Gallbladder Small Intestines Stomach Large Intestines
Yin Organ Kidney Liver Heart Spleen Lung
Sense Organ Ears Eyes Tongue Mouth Nose
Body Tissue Bone Sinews Blood Vessel Muscles Skin
Emotion Fear Anger Joy/Shock Worry Sadness
Color Black Green Red Yellow White
Taste Salty Sour Bitter Sweet Spicy
Sound Crying Shouting Laughing Singing Moaning

5 directions: north, south, east, west, centre


The 5 organs listed above, plus the energetic pair of pericardium and San Jiao (Triple Warmer)

6 directions in space: up, down, left, right, forward, backward

6 stages of Yang and Yin

– Brightest Yang (Yangming), Major Yang (Taiyang), Minor Yang (Shaoyang)

– Major Yin (Taiyin), Minor Yin (Shaoyin), Shrinking Yin (Jueyin)


Ba gua: 8 trigrams of Yin and Yang


– 12 organs (as listed above)

– 12 meridians (acupuncture channels)

– 12 hours a.m., 12 hours p.m.

– 12 months


My New Favourite Song!

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your brain, but felt that diving into a book about the brain would be too cumbersome? Too boring? Too difficult?

Some very clever people with wondrous imaginations have created this music video using clips of lectures about the brain. I think this is my new favourite song!

In case you miss it, here are some tidbits of info from this video/song:

  • the brain evolved from the inside out
  • it appears wrinkled like a walnut
  • the folds allow a lot of brain to fit into a small organ that can fit into the palm of your hand
  • it has the consistency of a mushroom
  • its cells are neurons
  • there are about 100 trillion interconnections
  • 20 million volumes of information are stored in the brain

Planning for the Worst

This is a change for me. It’s not that I don’t sometimes find my thoughts spinning me around in worst case scenarios. I do worry sometimes, though it seems less and less over time. However, I have never recommended actually trying to imagine and think out all the ways that things could go wrong.

I started this blog by writing about people’s fear of needles. If you want to read how I normally address people’s fear of needles, read here. But then thought that fear stops so many other things as well. Fear stops many from stepping onto the paths that would bring them greater happiness, health, wisdom, or other positive trait. Fear leaves people wondering “what if”. Fear freezes people. So, fear needs to be addressed on its own, not just in relation to needles.

I usually think that fear can be overcome by looking toward the positive. If I am afraid of flying, but really want to visit Japan (my husband’s situation), then the positive of travel experiences can drive me to get on a plane regardless of my fear.

What I find happens more often is a choice between a lesser of two evils. People come in for acupuncture despite their fear of needles because something that they are experiencing now is worse than the worst they can imagine acupuncture will deliver. Physical pain or discomfort or emotional turmoil are strong incentives to push ones’ boundaries.

A third way of thinking about how to move past fear is something that I have never done myself: Planned Pessimism. Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek” and “The 4-Hour Body”, offers a 5-minute video on this, click here.

The basics of Planned Pessimism are:

  1. Write down worst case scenarios
  2. In a column next to each of those situations, write out what you can do to resolve or avoid those possibilities.

For example:

If you have a fear of needles.

Worst Case Scenario Resolve or Avoid
It will hurt Tell Acupuncturist to stop if it does hurt.

Breathe through discomfort.

Tell Acupuncturist that I’m concerned about how it will feel.

Ask for smallest needles.

I may get an infection from the needle Make sure that Acupuncturist is using sterile disposable needles, one-time-use.
I may get injured Choose a qualified professional. Acupuncture training varies in different provinces and states, but if there is a licensing board, make sure that Acupuncturist is registered and licensed. (In British Columbia this requires a minimum of 1900-3250 hours of acupuncture study, including 450-1050 hours of practicum training, as well as completing written and practical licensing examinations and ongoing continuing education)

Tell Acupuncturist about your concerns so they can explain what they are doing.

I don’t like needles of any kind Don’t watch. Close my eyes.


Don’t think of them as needles. They don’t feel like needles.

Daydream about something else during treatment. Use distraction.

I’m still not sure that planned pessimism is the best way for me to get through any fears or worries, but if you have trouble finding that silver lining or looking at the bright side of things or perceiving the glass as half full, this may be another way to move forward.

As Yoda said: “Named must be your fear before vanish it you can”.


But I’m afraid!

I was asked how to convince someone who’s afraid of needles to give acupuncture a try.

My usual answer is that acupuncture is not painful as that’s what most fear. I call it ahhhhhcupuncture, said with a sigh, because most fall asleep during their treatments. But, if saying that doesn’t help, I suggest to have that person contact me. Maybe there’s a non-needle approach I can suggest: herbs, supplements, lifestyle changes, dietary recommendations, etc. Maybe they’ll be willing to try just one needle.

That’s something I’ve done with a number of patients. I’ve asked them if I could try just one acupuncture needle with them. I said that if it hurt or they didn’t like it, I would immediately take it out and not continue. Everyone has let me continue. Because acupuncture should not be painful. One of my acuphobe patients now calls the acupuncture needles “happy sticks” as she doesn’t think of them like needles.

For some, explaining the difference between an acupuncture needle and a hypodermic (injection) needle makes it less scary. An average hypodermic needle could fit 10-40 acupuncture needles inside. An acupuncture needle does not push in or pull out any fluid (that is often what you feel more than the injection needle itself). An acupuncture needle is shaped differently. This shape allows it to glide easily through tissue with less disruption and thus less (or no) pointy needle sensation.


This is why some of my patients fall asleep before I’ve even finished putting in their acupuncture “happy sticks”!

This convinces most people that an acupuncture needle experience is different from an injection needle experience and turns acuphobe to acuphile. But, still not everyone is convinced that it’s not scary.

It was a 5-minute video that I just watched that made me think that there’s another way to approach people’s fears. It’s called “Practical Pessimism”. Tim Ferriss is author of “The 4-Hour Workweek” and “The 4-Hour Body”. I haven’t read the first book, but I’m being open-minded in reading the latter. If you want to read more about how I can link Yoda, Tim, and acupuncture, click here for my blog on “Planning for the Worst“.

%d bloggers like this: