Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One question for spiritual/religious founders

I know that speaking of religion or spirituality on the internet is just asking for trouble, but I've had a recurring thought that I want to share...

Given a hypothetical scenario where you are able to speak to a personified spiritual or religious entity of your choice (Jesus, Buddha, etc.), and were allowed to ask 1 question...

I wonder how many people would ask about the meaning of life, whether heaven exists, or what the path to reach enlightenment is, etc.

I wonder how few people would ask a question like "Is there anything I can do to help YOU?" or "Would you tell me about your life?"

I often think that it is a cruel fate to be iconified and made into a symbol.  I think it makes it difficult to see the person underneath all the fanfare.

There are thousands of people claiming to know the will of Jesus and the teachings of Buddha, but how many people know what Jesus' favorite flower is?  Or Buddha's favorite smoothie recipe?

I've got more thinking to do...

Monday, June 18, 2012

The 3 Aspects of Martial Arts (intro)

In the martial art system that I someday wish to develop, I will emphasize the concept of "3 parts".  It is common for people to view the world as a balance of black & white, Yin & Yang, etc.  Being educated or enlightened expands this thought into single axis spectrum with black on one end, white on another with infinite shades of gray in between.

I'd like to suggest expanding our perception further by adding a third option to this established dichotomy.  I don't think it's important to agree on what the 3rd option is, but rather to begin thinking outside of the "yes" or "no" system. 

On a multiple choice quiz, it is essentially the same as the answer "e. none of the above" - an indication that there might be another answer that has yet to be presented.

Anyways, enough with the theory of the concept of a "3rd" option; I just wanted to establish the idea that thinking of a 3rd option is mentally challenging and stimulating, and I applied it to martial arts.

Let me begin by dividing martial arts into 3 aspects:  Physical, Mental, Skills.

I. Physical :  The 3 "S"s - Strength, Speed, Stamina
II. Mental:  Mental State, Self-Control, Muscle Memory (enforcing synaptic signals)
III. Skills :  Technique, Timing, Observation
I will go into the details of each aspect and the components of each aspect in later posts.

Painless vs Intense Acupuncture

Painless vs Intense Acupuncture

There are many different styles of acupuncture - some are painless and gentle while others are a bit more "intense".  
If you feel what you would describe as an "electric sensation", but it's not painful, let me reassure you, it was not hitting a nerve.  Nerves are fairly tough, and it is difficult to actually insert an acupuncture needle into a nerve without using a lot of force.

Some acupuncture styles suggest having a strong sensation, referred to as the "Qi Sensation" or "Da Qi" at every point, while others say that patient should not feel it at all.  Although some purists will claim that there is only one right way, it has been proven repeatedly that both types work equally well.

Do not hesitate to ask me or any other acupuncturist about our style of acupuncture - most of us will be glad to let you know about our style and philosophy, and it is important that it is appropriate for you.

How are Acupuncturists different?

How are Acupuncturists different?

Many acupuncture clinics claim to provide the "best acupuncture" but what does that mean to you? 

Let's start with an explanation of different types of acupuncturists.

Acupuncturists trained in Chinese acupuncture and oriental medicine receive their Masters of Science in either Acupuncture (M.S. Acupuncture) or Oriental Medicine (M.S. OM) after completing 4 years of study and clinical internships at an accredited college.

Some acupuncturist are medical doctors (MDs), naturopathic medical doctors (NMDs), or chiropractors who may have taken some seminars on acupuncture or have completed a full graduate program.

Nationally Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac) have completed a national board examination set in place by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

As confusing as all these titles are, the most important thing about finding the "best acupuncturist" is realizing that you are looking for "the best acupuncturist for you".

Friday, June 8, 2012

An explanation of Gluten-Free eating.

A fellow acupuncturist mentioned something about "gluten-free" foods, and I wanted to share my understanding with my friends: Gluten is a "glue-like" protein found in many different grains (namely Wheat, Barley, Spelt & Rye) that gives food its chewiness. 

Approximately 10% of the population has a sensitivity to one of the components of gluten (which is formed when digested), and we call that "gluten-intolerance" or "gluten-sensitivity"

0.5%~1.0% of the population have celiac disease, which is one of the causes of gluten-sensitivity.  People who have celiac disease have much harsher responses to gluten.

From Wikipedia: Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include bloating, abdominal discomfort, pain or diarrhea, or it may present with a variety of extraintestinal symptoms including headaches and migraines, lethargy and tiredness, attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity, schizophrenia, muscular disturbances as well as bone and joint pain.

Now here's the important part - for every 10 people that have the symptoms listed above, there is 1 person who has those symptoms because of gluten in their diet.  Or to phrase it differently, for every 1 person who is having symptoms because they are gluten-sensitive, there are 9 people who are having symptoms for a different reason.

Is there anything wrong with "gluten-free" foods?  No, not inherently - but, many gluten-free foods need to use additives so that the food texture seems right.  Do we know all the consequences and dangers of these additives?  Probably not.  They could just as easily cause other health problems.

If you DO choose to eat gluten-free, it is much simpler to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, or grains which don't have gluten, like rice (brown, or white) and corn.  Even though some rice is called "glutenous" rice (sweet rice), there is no gluten in rice.  "Wild Rice" is a blend of grains, so you have to check the ingredients to make sure there are no gluten containing grains.

The other place gluten is often found is in processed foods where it's "gluey" texture is used as a stabilizer.  Examples include ketchup and ice cream, and many frozen processed foods.

Aside from gluten-intolerance and celiac disease, there are other conditions such as wheat allergies, which, like other allergies is a hyper-active auto-immune response which will cause a variety of "self-defense" symptoms.  This includes inflammation of the skin, the nasal mucous, nausea & vomiting (to purge the perceived toxin), and most dangerously anaphylaxsis (throat swells shut from inflammation). 

Studies have narrowed down the possible cause of wheat allergies to a little less than 30 different proteins, so it is NOT the same as a gluten sensitivity.

If you wonder if you have gluten-intolerance, try eating foods with gluten (wheat, barley, spelt & rye) for a week and journal your symptoms. 
 Follow this up with a week of "gluten-free" eating and journal the changes in your symptoms.

Note both positive & negative changes between the 2 weeks. 

If you think you have wheat-allergies, consult an allergy specialist (aka allergist or immunologist) - you don't want to experiment with analphylaxsis (throat swelling shut) do you?