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I have some exciting news to share: my new book “Energy Medicine: The Science and Mystery of Healing” comes out April 2nd! I’ve never worked harder on a book—it was quite a journey and one that quite literally took me around the world. I’m thrilled that it’s finally time to start sharing it with you!

I thought it might be helpful to gather together some commonly used words when speaking about Energy and Energy medicine and lay out some broad definitions and meanings.

Qi/Energy

Perhaps not surprisingly, “Qi” and “Energy” are mentioned well over a hundred times throughout the book. Chinese philosophy posits that a vital energy, what is called qi, surrounds and courses through our bodies to support life. It holds the body’s innate intelligence, the intangible yet measurable way we maintain what’s known as “homeostasis,” or the body’s ability to regulate its internal environment to create good health. But qi is also understood to be part of a larger pattern, a grand energy field – something so big that it connects all of us.

Meridians

Wondering how qi runs through your body? Meridians. Think of them as a network that looks a bit like the NYC subway map. Like the subway, various pathways overlap and interconnect—making them critical to the network as a whole. Traditional Chinese medicine believes there is deep interconnectedness between all aspects of our being both internally and externally.

Fascia

Your fascia is connective tissue that can be found everywhere in our bodies. It underpins our skin; and attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. It also conducts electricity and, it is theorized, is the conduit for electrical energy, or qi, as it travels throughout our bodies.

Chakras

Chakras are a concept from India (the word means wheel in Sanskrit) and meridians are a concept from Chinese medicine, which refer to the channels that energy flows through.

What’s interesting is that if you overlay a map of the meridians over a map of the fascial planes, they line up.(Something I go into much further in my new book, Energy Medicine) This may mean that energy moving through the meridians is transmitted through the fascia.

I often think of chakras as the areas from which where we connect to the greater energy field (and therefore to each other), allowing energy in and out. The Meridians are what move the energy throughout our bodies, and when combined they make a complete system,

Painted ice that looks like a crystal in palm

Yin/Yang

Yin and Yang are the two different aspects of Qi, our life-force. Yin refers the functions of the body that are nourishing and cooling and yang refers to the ones that are activating and warming. They are constantly in dynamic balance as our internal landscape changes and we are at our happiest and healthiest when our Yin + Yang are working together harmoniously.

Zero Point Field / The Tao

Imagine you are on a beach watching two pebbles rolling in unison as they are buffeted by waves. If you didn’t understand the role of the ocean in making them move, you would be forgiven for thinking that one pebble was communicating with the other. The ocean, in this case, would be the zero point field (ZPF), the invisible field generated by the exchange of energy between subatomic particles. The ZPF reminds me of the Tao,, which is said to be so boundless it defies description and is the natural order of the universe and the container for all of our experiences as human beings.

Resonance

Defined broadly, resonance is when one object vibrates at the same natural frequency of a second object, thereby increasing the amplitude and forcing the second object into vibrational motion. It is the reason the wine glass shatters when the opera singer hits an extraordinarily high note. As you’ll find out in the book resonance plays an important role in the way healing information is transmitted from a healer to their patient.

Elderberries have been used for hundreds of years in Europe, where they are prized as an immune-booster. This home-made elderberry syrup is a favorite remedy in our family, where we take 1 tbsp a day throughout the winter to ward off colds and flu. If we do start to get sick we step up the dosage and take 1 tsp every two hours. It works really well and we highly recommend it.

Why does it work? Well, elderberries are rich in antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C, so their reputation as a tonic is well deserved. I always add plenty of ginger to my syrup because of it’s antiviral properties. Star anise was a recent addition to our recipe after we found out that it is a key ingredient in the flu-fighting drug Tamiflu. Honey has an antimicrobial effect as does cinnamon and cloves. We like to use local raw (unpasteurized) honey for this recipe because it has stronger anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.

Having a jar of elderberry syrup in the fridge is a great plan this winter. It’s easy to make, keeps well and is delicious.

You can take it as medicine or get more creative and use it in recipes. We drizzle ours on buckwheat pancakes, mix it with seltzer, toss is into a smoothie and stir it into tea. We’ve even been known to use it as a base for a festive cocktail.

One word of warning though. This syrup contains raw honey so it isn’t suitable for babies younger than 1 year old. Honey may contain spores of a bacteria that can cause botulism, which an infant’s immature immune system can’t handle.

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup dried Elderberries or 2 cups of fresh elderberries.
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 cup of raw honey

Here’s what you do

  1. Combine the water, dried elderberries, grated ginger, cloves, star anise and cinnamon in a pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer over a low heat for about 40 minutes until the mixture has reduced by half.
  3. While the syrup is simmering sterilize 5 small 4 oz jelly jars (for instructions see below).
  4. Allow the syrup to cool a little and then strain it.
  5. Combine the strained liquid with honey. The syrup needs to be cool enough (less than 115°F) so that it doesn’t cook the honey. That way you still get the added benefits of using raw honey in this recipe.
  6. Discard the herbs at this stage.
  7. Pour into the sterilized jars and keep in the fridge.
  8. The syrup should keep for up to 2 months, although it almost goes without saying that if it starts to go moldy or smells funky before that you should throw it out and start again.

Makes: 5 small 4 oz jars of syrup.

Dosage: 1 tbsp a day as a preventative, 1 tsp every 2 hours if you have a cold of flu to shorten the duration.

How to sterilize your jars

First choose suitable glass jars or bottles. The USDA recommends using special tempered-glass jars free of cracks. Look for ones that have a two-part vacuum cap consisting of a flat metal lid and a metal screw band. We use Ball Jars and I like to use the small 4oz jelly jars so we can give syrup to friends as gifts.

Wash the jars, lids, and bands in hot soapy water and rinse.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the jars in right side up, making sure they are completely submerged in the water. Tongs helps you maneuver your jars into the water.

Bring the water to a boil over high heat, and then turn down the heat and boil the jars for 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Add the jar lids to the pot, along with the pincer end of the tongs of the tongs. Leave the jars, lids and tongs in the water for at least 10 minutes.

When you are ready to fill your jars use the tongs to take them out of the water. Pour the water out of the jars and them place them on a paper towel with the open side upwards.

Fill the jars with syrup and use the tongs to remove the lids to seal the jars.

Dear Yinova Community, (more…)

Yes!

… and no.

(more…)

In Asia the line between food and medicine is more blurred than we in the west are used to. Chinese medicine is full of recipes that combine food and herbs to make meals that both nourish and cure. With cold and flu season still in full swing I thought I’d share a healing recipe for a delicious immune boosting Chinese chicken soup.

You can find all of the herbs in this soup from a Chinese herbal pharmacy, such as Kamwo, which is on Grand street in Chinatown.

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks of huang qi (astragalus)
  • 1/2 cup gou qi zi (wolfberries)
  • 2 2″ pieces of dang shen (codonopsis)
  • 8 da zao (red dates)
  • 6 dried shitaki mushrooms
  • 2″ ginger finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 red chili peppers, chopped (or to taste)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into pieces of about 1″
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • A splash of olive oil

Directions

  1. Pour the cup of boiling water over the red dates, wolf berries and shitaki mushrooms and set aside.
  2. Soften the onions in the olive oil over a medium heat then turn up the heat and add the chopped chicken thighs stirring them as they brown. Add in the chili peppers, ginger and garlic and saute for 5 minutes then add the chicken stock and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat so that the soup simmers gently.
  3. Add in the huang qi and dang shen. Chop the shitaki mushrooms and add them along with the wolf berries and dates.

Are you trying to get pregnant and struggling to conceive? The answer may be easier than you think. (more…)

Here at the Yinova Center, we see many patients who are hesitant to exercise whilst they are trying to get pregnant. Some doctors don’t want to recommend exercise to patients who are planning to conceive and some even warn against it. In reality, exercise, if done in moderation, can actually benefit your fertility. The only thing to be mindful of is over-exercising. (more…)

You may already know that sleep is important to your health, and surely you’ve experienced how vital it is to your state of mind. As it turns out, it is also valuable for fertility; lack of sleep can play a role in infertility. (more…)

Here at the Yinova Center we’re experts when it comes to fertility counseling. We teach our patients how to know when they’re ovulating and the best times to have sex if they’re trying to conceive. (more…)

“How can I pinpoint when I’m ovulating?” Something that patients ask us all the time here at the Yinova Center.  And this is what we tell them…. (more…)

I’m going to presume you pretty much have a handle on how to have sex. If you’re looking for inspiration, however, I did write a book on this subject. It’s called Sex Again: Recharging Your Libido and you can buy it online or pick up a copy in our center.

But today I’d like to answer a question that my patients often ask, “Is there a right way to have sex if I’m trying to get pregnant?” This was a subject Dr. David and I tackled very thoroughly in our book Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility. So for a deeper discussion of this subject (and a lot more helpful fertility advice) it’s worth picking up a copy and giving it a read.

What follows, though, are the things you really should know about sex if you’re hoping to conceive.

Don’t Forget Foreplay

Often if you’ve been struggling to get pregnant, sex can feel a bit like work, rather than the romantic and energetic connection it used to be. My advice to my patients is to try to keep sex from becoming a stressor and remember to have fun. Sexual stimulation improves cervical mucus and increases the flow of hormones, which in turn increases fertility.

In addition, one study found that men who were turned on by a partner had higher sperm counts than those who masturbated by themselves. It’s in your best interest not to give sex short shrift by letting it become too goal oriented.

Pick a Helpful Position

The missionary position is the best one to use when you are trying to conceive. Any other time, you should of course use whatever positions you enjoy.

When you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s important to get the sperm as far along their journey as you can. The missionary position allows for penetration closest to the cervix.

Stay Put

After sex, stay put for ten to twenty minutes. This is a good time to have a cuddle and feel connected. I once had a patient, a yoga devotee, who used to stand on her head after intercourse to maximize the effects of gravity. I’m happy to tell you, that this is not necessary. Just don’t make the sperm fight gravity along with everything else. You may also have heard that the woman should lie with her legs up a wall. That’s certainly not going to hurt anything, but it isn’t necessary either. Just stay lying down. If you’re one of those women just dying for a pee after you’ve had sex, please don’t withhold urine so long that you give yourself a urinary tract infection. But you’ll be fine for fifteen minutes, if you can manage to hold it.

Choose a Fertility Enhancing Lubricant

Sexual lubricants (especially scented varieties) can interfere with conception. They are, in general, too acidic for the sperm to survive and swim well in. In addition, the concentration of salts in the lubricants can cause sperm to either shrink or swell beyond their capacity to perform normally. If you need a little extra moisture— and many couples do at ovulation or under the stress of trying to conceive— you don’t have to do without.

Look for Pre-Seed lubricant, which is specially designed for couples trying to conceive. A Cleveland Clinic study of lubricants published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that Pre-Seed was the only commercially available vaginal lubricant that didn’t decrease sperm motility or compromise sperm DNA.

Beware of some of the other common suggestions for lubrication, such as using a little warm water. Don’t! Water can kill sperm on contact. Or how about trying a little saliva? Wrong! Saliva contains digestive enzymes that stop sperm from swimming. Maybe you’ve heard that egg whites are a good lubricant. We don’t recommend them because of the risk of salmonella in raw eggs. (In addition, many patients who have tried it tell us it made them feel rather like an omelet!) Some doctors recommend mineral oil (sexual lubricants may contain it), but studies show that it may limit the ability of sperm to penetrate the egg. None of these effects is powerful enough to rely on as a birth control method, mind you, but when the idea is to get the sperm up to the egg, you do not want to make things any more difficult for them than they already are.

Have Lots of Sex

Forgive me if that seems obvious, but I think it bears repeating. In my experience patients often focus like lasers on the exact day of the woman’s cycle when they should have sex to conceive. I’ve also had lots of patients who have read on the Internet all about letting sperm build back up between ejaculations and end up limiting sex in some kind of rationing effort.

Here’s the advice we give our patients here at the Yinova Center. Unless the male partner has been diagnosed with a low sperm count or low semen volume, you can pretty much feel free to have all the sex you want. (It is a good idea to keep it to once a day.) Not only won’t it hurt anything but it will greatly increase your chances of conceiving. (It could reduce stress levels a bit, too, if you do it right.) Of course, it’s fine if you’re not inclined to have sex every day, but every other day around ovulation is important.

Research has shown that couples who have sex about once a week have a 15 percent chance of conceiving in any given cycle, while those having sex every day kick up their chances to 50 percent.

If you need more in-depth fertility counseling, all the practitioners here at the Yinova Center have many years of experience helping couples to conceive. We love our job and are happy to chat to you about any aspect of the fertility journey.

Good luck and have fun!

Did you know that acupuncture is one of the most ancient forms of energy medicine? Or that acupuncturists are the only licensed energy workers in the US? Did you know that we choose the herbs we put in your prescription not simply for their chemical constituents but also for their energetic qualities? Or that Chinese medicine practitioners talk about food in energetic terms and prescribe foods to help you achieve balance?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest and most enduring examples of energy medicine in the world—a fact that I sometimes wonder if I take for granted.

About 95% of my patients at Yinova know that TCM affects the energetic components of the mind, body, and soul along electrical meridians that ultimately improve their health. Yet I also see a handful of patients who aren’t sure what to make of it. Maybe they heard TCM was a credible health alternative that could help when their doctors disappoint or think of it as a mysterious medical practice from a far-off land. I remember a patient who saw me for fibroids because her Western obstetrician suggested, “Try acupuncture and herbs. 2,500 years of another country’s medicine can’t be wrong.”

But TCM is hardly hocus pocus and so much more than a borrowed ancient tradition. It is a solid and credible form of energy therapy. In fact, acupuncturists are the only energy workers that are licensed as medical professionals in the US—which is crucial for accountability, authority, and our patients’ wellbeing. I use needles, hands-on healing, herbal medicine, and dietary advice to restore and regulate what Chinese medicine refers to as Qi—the life force energy within every one of us, as well as the universe. All the techniques I use to affect Qi allows our bodies to heal and thrive by correcting imbalances in the patient’s body and energy field. Our energy fields hold the body’s ability to reach a healthy sense of balance, or what’s known as “homeostasis.”

At the Yinova Center, we also offer various types of energy medicine beyond TCM, including massage, nutritional therapy, and even the occasional sessions with a medical medium. Throughout my career, I’ve travelled far and wide to meet with healers, academics, doctors, scientists, and researchers on the cutting edge of energy medicine to understand how to use my own healing Qi on patients and bring the best of what I discover to my practice. I help my patients understand the best therapies for them—regardless of whether we offer them in our clinic—so that you can heal and thrive.

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