NatGeo, The Role of Ancient Remedies in Modern Medicine

Have you seen this article in National Geographic?

I am very pleased with this thorough exploration of traditional Chinese medicine and how it can be (and has been) a major influence in modern medicine.

Times are changing, and acceptance of traditional medical practices are growing, yielding a cosmic shift from taboo to mainstream, and science is backing it up left and right. The body of research regarding traditional therapies is astounding. All you have to do is google “pubmed acupuncture disease name” or “pubmed herbal medicine disease name”.  Pubmed is National Institute of Health’s medical library. Most of this research concludes that acupuncture and traditionally used herbal remedies are significantly more effective than the placebo group or sham group.

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Yale University professor Yung-Chi Cheng examines a notoginseng plant at a research center in China’s Yunnan Province. Cheng is researching herbal treatments based on ancient Chinese formulas, including a cancer treatment that is currently in drug trials.

Let it be known that traditional herbal medicine has been a go-to for pharmaceutical scientists from decades. Have you heard how aspirin was first created?

“People forget that one of the oldest, most effective, scientifically proven drugs came from traditional medicine—aspirin.” The ancient Egyptians used dried myrtle leaves to treat aches and pains, and Hippocrates, the fourth-century B.C. Greek physician, considered the father of Western medicine, prescribed an extract of willow bark for fevers. But it wasn’t until the 1800s that European scientists figured out that the active ingredient in both is salicylic acid and synthesized it. Today aspirin, at pennies a dose, is arguably the world’s most cost-effective drug.

In times such as these, a world of staggering painful polarity and utter distrust (and disgust) for “the other,” it is refreshing to see two worlds, typically viewed as opponents, find commonalities to create something bigger and better than the sum of its parts, leading us down a path we can certainly call “the future of medicine.”

 

 

Antibiotics: Risks and Alternatives*

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Antibiotics are one of the cornerstones of modern medicine. But this once lifesaving medication has been overused, with catastrophic results—including antibiotic-resistant bacteria, disrupted gut microbiomes, and associated chronic health problems.

Damaging the Gut Microbiome

While fighting a bacterial infection, antibiotics also kill off many of the beneficial microbes living in harmony in our guts.

The gut microbiome is considered a distinct organ by many microbiologists today due to its involvement in a variety of body processes. For starters, 70 percent of the immune system resides in the gut.

The human gut microbiome took millions of years to systematically evolve alongside humans, but modern-day hygiene, Western diets, and antibiotics have drastically altered our microbiome over a comparatively very short period of time.

The bottom line is that we don’t fully understand the long-term health consequences of meddling with human gut microbiota in the way that antibiotic overuse does.

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Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a serious consequence of excessive antibiotic usage. The CDC reports that two million people each year contract a bacterial infection that is resistant to one or more antibiotic medications, resulting in 23,000 deaths.

Antibiotic usage is linked to many diseases and health problems, including:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (20, 21)
  • Crohn’s disease (22)
  • Obesity (23, 24)
  • diff. (25)
  • Candida infection (26)
  • Mental health issues (27, 28)
  • Autoimmune diseases (29)
  • Celiac disease (30)
  • Metabolic disease (31)

Herbal Antibiotics

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Many botanical alternatives to antibiotics can shorten infection duration, improve immunity, and provide symptom relief. The effects that botanicals have on the gut flora are generally less pronounced than pharmaceutical antibiotics. I was trained as an herbalist to properly prescribe the correct combinations, dosages, and preparations of botanicals.

When using botanicals as an alternative to antibiotics, it’s important to know the specifics of what you are treating (test-don’t guess), and understand which botanicals target the specific infectious colonies. A clinical herbalist should have an in depth understanding of the various antibiotics, antivirals, and antimicrobials.

Immune Support

Design an immune support plan with your primary care physician. Equal parts astragalus, cordyceps, and rhodiola make an effective immune-support botanical tincture. For illness prevention, ¼ teaspoon three times a day is a sufficient dose. To treat an illness, ½ teaspoon up to six times a day can be used.

The following micronutrients can help the immune system fight off an infection:

  • vitamin C, 1000 to 4000 mg/day, in liposomal form
  • iodine, from sea vegetables and fish heads, or one mg/day as a kelp capsule
  • selenium, 200 micrograms/day, three to four times a week (short-term use only)
  • zinc, from oysters or 30 mg/day of zinc picolinate or zinc gluconate
  • elderberry syrup, one teaspoon twice per day
  • vitamins A and D together, from cod liver oil

Probiotics

Since 70 percent of the immune system resides in the gut, healing the gut to prevent serious infections in the first place is the best way to avoid needing antibiotics.

Probiotics help repopulate the gut with helpful microbes. The most common probiotic supplements are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics (soluble fiber and resistant starch) are better than probiotics at promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. (32) Good food sources of soluble fiber include carrots, winter squash, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, beets, plantains, starchy tubers, taro, and yuca.

Unwind & Wait it Out

Many illnesses are self-limiting and cleared by a properly developed immune system. For mild infections, a watch-and-wait approach, along with some immune-boosting micronutrients, fights off many illnesses without the need of harsh interventions. A key to this approach, however, is to truly REST and DESTRESS—something that is extremely underrated in our society.

 

*Article Adapted from the Kresser Institute. Thank you Chris Kresser! Readers, check out his fantastic web page!

Featured Product: Quicksilver CBD Oil

Good News! I have added an additional CBD oil to the apothecary. Many of you know that I carry Prime My Body’s Hemp oil and love the results I am seeing. Now the mastermind behind this ingenious product is Dr. Christopher Shade, PhD, and before he formulated the new and improved Prime My Body Hemp oil, he formulated a ground-breaking CBD oil for Quicksilver Scientific.

The Difference Cut and Dry

Prime My Body’s new hemp oil is 30% stronger, and about 30% higher cost than Quicksilver’s.

The original product PMB supplied was nearly identical to the product Quicksilver carries, the only difference was the carrier oil used. Quicksilver uses soybean oil, and PMB uses sunflower oil. So if you were a consumer of PMB’s original formula, then Quicksilver is nearly the same thing, and you may want to save a few dollars by switching over . If you are looking for the best available product, then you want to be taking Prime My Body. I decided to carry both brands, because I know many consumers appreciate options which are both effective AND finance-friendly.

Here is a video of Dr. Shade sharing all the excited developments in CBD supplementation. Enjoy!

Summer Specials: Fire Element Acupuncture + Qi Gong

Summer Solstice is approaching! We are enjoying the longest days of the year, and here in Santa Cruz, the warmest days are yet to come. Summer is the fire season. Plants, animals and weather are in full-on yang. This means rapid growth, expression and activity. Our internal qi dynamic will mimic that of our external environment, but sometimes, we need a little extra push. That’s why I felt compelled to create a seasonal treatment series.

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Have you ever noticed that the elderly tend to die in May and June? Both my grandmothers passed in May/June, the season which approaches full-yang. I find this concept fascinating. The reason for this is simple. As nature builds yang– vigorous, active, transformative qi– the internal qi dynamic of an elderly or ill person is unable to match the fire season. There is no yang to give towards this expression. And thus, the inevitable happens.

Complementary to the full-yin of winter, water season, when we feel an inclination to be sheltered, quiet, restorative, introverted and introspective, summer fire brings us outdoors, outgoing, extroverted, expressive, vigorous, and active. We could not exist in an endless summer, because once our innate yang becomes diminished from long-term use, innate yin begins to grow and become predominant, concealing yang. This is how we restore and rebuild for summertime. However, Throughout the summer months, it is practical to nourish yang fire as we consume it. As a society, we are driven by yang qi. Working endlessly, sleep deprivation, caffeination, stimulation, and all-nighters are glorified in the professional, academic, and social spheres, so it makes sense that deep down we need help nourishing yang fire, preventing over-consumption and depletion in the summer months.

 

 

Summer Sun-day Qi Gong in the Park

Join us in a group Qi Gong class, every Sunday at 11am in the Schwann Lake park. Meet at the Simpkins Swim Center entrance. We will walk together to one of the open fields for 1 hour our practice. Drop in for $20 or pay $15 in advance on my scheduling page 

 

JADEPATH’s Guide to Essential Supplementation

As a medical provider there are very few supplements I consider essential for everybody. “Essential” means we do not get enough of it in our diets, and we do not make enough of it. I don’t prescribe multivitamins because you can get all the vitamins you need from food and food-based supplements. Trace minerals are severely depleted in our farmed soil, so many individuals benefit from adding a trace mineral supplement, even those who are committed to a diversified organic diet. However, even a trace mineral supplement has not made the cut for my Esesntial Supplementation Trifecta. But here is what has: Nanoenhanced CBD oil from Prime My Body, Green Pasture‘s fermented cod liver butter/oil, and Garden of Life’s Probiotics.

The Gut-Brain Neuro-Endocrine Axis

Modern medicine is making huge strides when it comes to the scientific discovery of the enteric-nervous system and its systemic impact on inflammation, digestion, emotions, behaviors, and auto/immunity.

In my field, disease prevention is the role of the superior physician. So medical researchers dedicate endless hours to their clinical trials so the scientific community may understand the evolution and pathogenesis of disease.

All disease is rooted in inflammation. Period…and what is so radical about this medical science, is that every patient can be in charge of mitigating inflammation and preventing the cascade of inflammatory diseases.

 

So where does inflammation begin and what can be done about it? Luckily, we are not living in the dark about these medical matters any longer. It’s quite simple to understand, and thank sweet heaven and earth that no one needs a prescription for a big-pharma brand drug to fix it. I am in the business of preventing disease, and treating the root of disease, not just the symptom, and what is so radical about this medical science, is that every patient can be in charge of mitigating inflammation, and preventing the cascade of inflammatory diseases.

These three supplements are heavy hitters when it comes to mitigating inflammation, and enhancing the gut-brain neuro-endocrine axis and the science that back them up is astounding!

Nanoenhanced CBDs

CBDs has enjoyed quite some time in the limelight the last few years. With decriminalization and legalization of cannabis happening, big-pharma and agri-business is moving quickly to keep up with the demands. Cannabidiol or CBD is one of several active constituents identified in cannabis, and has quickly risen to the level of fame of THC as most notable cannabinoids.  THC holds its own slew of varied medical benefits, but it comes with a psychotropic side-effect that many patients are not interested in undertaking. While CBD users will enjoy a calm alertness when it is extracted and ingested correctly, it is non-psychotropic, meaning it does not get you “high.”   Some patients regard CBD as the best alternative to pharmaceutical antidepressants and pain-killers.

CBD is considered a potent anti-inflammatory. By ingesting nanoenhanced CBD sublingually (under the tongue), the patient enjoys immediate results. As CBD circulates systemically, it aids in tissue repair (skin, sinews, bones, organs, follicles, glands, etc) restoring proper structure and function.

CBD and the Gut-Brain Neuro-Endocrine Axis

The gut and brain are intimately connected via the nervous system. A new field of medicine has been coined recently, called neuro-enterology, which specializes in the gut-brain relationship.  Cannibidiol is a neuro-protectant, one of the only substances known to modern medicine to repair and protect neurons, the cells that make up the entirety of the nervous system. This has huge medical implications for users. The nervous system is responsible for establishing communication between the brain and all the various parts of the body. The nervous system is intimately connected to the endocrine system, the hormones. Together these two interdependent systems regulate homeostasis –balance in the body–by adapting to internal and external changes. It initiates sympathetic response (fight-or-flight) to adapt for stressors, and returns us to parasympathetic mode when we are safe to rest and digest.

It is a dance our enteric-neuro-endocrine systems are doing all day long without us giving it any thought, however for most of us, there are a few kinks in the system. What happens when a person undergoes a stressor, even something they didn’t realize was a factor, such as mold in the house, and they are constantly activating their sympathetic response? Chronic stress makes it more difficult for the neuro-endocrine system to return to a parasympathetic resting state. What happens when the person has taken antibiotics and wiped their micro-biome, the colony of beneficial microorganicsms living in our guts? The enteric-nervous system does not respond favorably. Inflammation becomes poorly regulated, leading to any number of inflammatory responses and pathologies. Frequently, mental, emotional and behavior imbalances become an issue, digestive health declines, immunity declines manifesting as new allergies, and a predisposition toward autoimmunity becomes much more likely to develop.

CBD buffers the enteric-nervous system, quells inflammation, and aids in repair of tissue that was previously compromised by inflammation such as the gastrointestinal lining and the neurons of the nervous system.

Why Prime My Body’s Hemp Oil is Best

It’s all about chemistry, and this product is manufactured to cross the blood brain barrier, meaning nanoenhanced CBD can reach, restore and protect brain cells and neurons. Prime My Body’s chemist crafted the recipe to include phospholipids that not only carry CBD across cell membranes, but into cellular DNA, making epigenetic changes and better long-term results.  All this chemistry amounts to one thing: more bang for your buck!

To purchase Prime My Body’s Hemp Oil, I can be contacted directly via telephone or email, or head on over to my PMB affiliate site to make your purchase.

Probiotics

As aforementioned above, one key component to the health of the entero-nero-endocrine system or the gut-brain axis is a diversified microbiome, or healthy gut bacteria. These colonies aid in digestion and nutrient absorption.  Neurologically, the microbiome is critical in the production of serotonin, a powerful neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation and proper mental function. With a damaged microbiome (often a result pharmaceutical drug use such antibiotics and corticosteroids), serotonin production plummets and the results are felt instantly. Many patients complain of depression and fatigue (not to mention crappy digestion) after a course of antibiotics, and that is why.

Probiotics allow us repopulate the gut with beneficial microorganisms. Some strains are better at recolonizing than others. Some need to be continuously supplemented, because they tend to move through the gastrointestinal system, being of great functional use while they are there, but are excreted along with the stool.

Healthy gut bacteria is critical in healthy immune function. Many patients with chronic allergies, or who are always catching anything they are exposed to need to supplement the microbiome with probiotics.

Why Dr. Perlmutter’s Garden of Life Probiotics is Best

Dr. Perlmutter literally wrote the book on the gut-brain connection. Actually he wrote two of them. These two books are shockingly well researched medical resources.

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Dr. Perlmutter’s book can be found here

He is a medical doctor committed to science, which is more difficult to come by than one may think. As a neurologist he has treated thousands of patients with neurological diseases using diet modification and probiotic supplementation alone. No surgery, no pharmaceuticals. Restoring health and balance is the duty of superior physician, and he fulfills this responsibility. His products reflect his deep commitment to medical science and his patients. There is one other incredibly effective probiotic available, VSL #3, however, it is only carried at certain pharmacies, and for a high premium. I am inclined to recommend VSL #3 for only the most debilitated microbiomes. Garden of Life probiotics fill the niche for quality and affordability.

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And the exciting sequel to Grain Brain can be found here

Fermented Cod Liver Butter/Oil (FCLO)

Components

  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids,EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docohexaenoic acid), are required for the development of the brain, eyes and other organs as well as nervous and bone tissue. DHA is a major structural component of the brain and is found in retina and sperm. As a building block to healthy brain matter, DHA is essential to learning development and ability.
  • Fat-soluble Vitamins A and D which traditionally was eaten in amounts 10 times greater than modern diets, according to Dr. Weston A. Price. However, naturally occurring Vitamin D is removed in the deodorization process of  most CLO, and replaced with a fraction of the original amount. FCLO does not deodorize therefore retains high concentrations of bioavailable vitamin D.

FCLO was one of the first widely recognized nutritional supplements given to infants and children. It is considered essential for premature new-borns, formula fed babies, and children who frequently contract colic and other digestive irritations, colds and flus. Nursing mothers can supply deficient infants with FCLO through mother’s milk. It is thought to be more helpful for deficient infants than plant based sources of omega-3 such as flax seed. Plant sources do not contribute enough DHA. FCLO is also much more stable than seed-derived DHA oils, which tend to turn rancid quickly.

FCLO is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It has been used to relieve joint stiffness due to arthritis and osteoarthritis. A German study showed that FCLO reduced pain and cartilage damage in osteoarthritis patients. Whereas vitamin E nourishes the skin superficially, FCLO can moisten and nourish the deeper tissues of the body, down to the organs and bones.

Many cardiologists, including my own father, pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Alan Lewis, revere FCLO for its prevention of coronary artery disease, citing that a daily dose prevents atherosclerosis. EPA and DHA are plentiful in FCLO, clean the circulatory system of cholesterol and fat deposits, reduce blood viscosity, lower lipid levels, reduce clotting, lower blood pressure, and help prevent ischemia (tissue damage after obstructed blood flow), thus promoting circulation, and vascular renewal. These functions are helpful in external conditions to accelerate the healing of wounds. Applied topically, an ointment of 25% CLO was discovered to “significantly accelerated both the epithelial and the vascular component of healing.”

Mood Cures author and nutritional psychiatrist, Julia Ross, recommends an elevated daily dose in the treatment of depression. Countries with the highest intake of fish in their diets are correlated with the lowest rates of depression among its citizens. Dr. Alexander B. Niculescu, M.D., Ph.D, in a study on mice found that CLO normalizes bi-polar behavior and craving for alcohol.

Why Green Pasture’s FCLO + Concentrated Butter Oil is Best

Most fish oil products are extracted through heat or chemical extractions.  However, Green Pastures utilizes fermentation

“X-Factor™ Gold Concentrated Butter Oil is pure oil from cows grazing on 100% rapidly growing green grass extracted and concentrated through centrifugation.  The speed of the grass growth, timing of the grazing of this grass, species of grass, climate and extraction method are all important factors in making real X-Factor™ Gold Concentrated Butter Oil”(1). It is rich in Vitamin K, in the form of MK7. MK7 is deficient in the modern diet. When MK7 is combined with Vitamins A and D, (conveniently high in FCLO), it is the only nutrient-combo that can remove calcium deposits from arteries and joints, and bring it back to the bones, thus reversing atherosclerosis and bone spurs. 

On Shopping for Supplements

Simply put: you get what you pay for. Please consult a qualified well-researched medical provider to pick the best quality supplements for you. Do not buy supplements at the big-box grocery store or drug store unless your medical provider says so. The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements. Most pressed pills over the counter in the nutritional supplement section are just corn starch and sugars and have little to no bio-availability and absorption, resulting in expensive urine. Go with brands that are dedicated to the science and art of crafting scientifically proven bioavailable products.

The year ahead: Fire Rooster

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Japanese Art. Fine Art Reproduction. Rooster, Sunflowers and Morning Glories, c. 1759 by Ito Jakuchu. Via Etsy

 

Chinese New Year is coming up January 28th, and after such a dramatic, impulsive, shocking, never-ending hangover of a year that was the Fire Monkey, I think everyone on the planet can agree we are ready for a mega-shift in energies.

Narrye Caldwell, a very special teacher and mentor of mine is a pole star astrologer, acupuncturist, shaman and classical feng shui practitioner. She embodies the living arts and practices of Chinese culture. The following paragraphs are excerpts from her article Year of the Fire Rooster.

All Chinese wisdom traditions, including medicine, divination, astrology, and feng shui, are systems of pattern identification that guide us in adapting gracefully to change. A world in flux is assumed; it is the one constant feature of life. Astrology is best viewed as a tool to discern where we are in the shifting cycles of time so we can adjust our expectations accordingly and therefore, from the Chinese point of view, cultivate longevity by not wasting our qi trying to swim against the current.”

“Last year’s current schooled us all in crisis management as the Fire Monkey’s erratic impulsiveness and dramatic flare produced an unprecedented bit of theater in American politics.”

Fire Rooster Application:  “How to Walk Your Talk and Follow Through”

“In the Chinese zodiac the Rooster is the tenth of the 12 animals. It is associated with the Metal element which correlates to the time in autumn when qi condenses and the life force turns inward, right before sinking into the stillness of winter. So Metal expresses the essence of a thing with perfect clarity. Think of a tree in autumn, stripped of its foliage, its true shape so cleanly visible. People born in the year of the Rooster tend to be focused, task oriented, ambitious, confident, and very clear. This latter quality is what gives Rooster people their reputation for being abrupt and tactless. But it’s a mistake to consider them rude. Rather, Roosters just see things clearly and are decisive in their assessments. They are what we might call “plain speaking.” They also can be incorrigible critics, lacking the patience required to wait for others to come around to the clarity which comes so readily to them.”

“When you couple these qualities with the Fire element, you have an interesting potential for drama. Fire is erratic, intense, passionate, expressive, and dynamic. Fire embodies the warrior archetype. Fire Roosters tend to be brave, powerful, unyielding, opinionated, and determined.”

“That brings us to the possibilities for 2017. This year’s theme is “application.” The Rooster has one special super power—

the ability to delay gratification and focus on the long term goal. Roosters can actually separate the reward from the work required to get it, and they can do this over long periods of time….like years.

So whatever feelings you may have about the upheaval created in the Monkey year, the qi will now support you to focus and apply yourself to the task at hand with discipline and diligence. Set aside your emotions and focus on long term goals. Stay focused. That’s right, see beyond the current situation and keep your eye on whatever it is that you value in the long run; just keep chipping away without wavering. Apply yourself. That’s what this year is all about.”

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You can read the entire article here, and what the year ahead has in store for your particular birth animal.

And if you liked the Japanese art, check out this etsy.

Got Wings?

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How a Muscle Recruitment Pathology Gives You “Wings,” and What You Can Do about It

 

Upper Cross Syndrome

As special as that sounds, it is actually a muscle recruitment pathology. The shoulder blades should lie flat on the back. When they are not, the shoulders are rounded forward as they are pulled by tight traps and pecs (Owee!!). Meanwhile the three muscles that should pull the scapula down, anchoring it to the torso, are effectively out to lunch.  Over time, the neck will lunge forward, causing a stair-stepping of the cervical vertebrae, instead of stacking straight up above the shoulders (More ouch!). This phenomenon is know as upper cross syndrome.

How Trigger Point Therapy Can Help

As an acupuncturist, I use needles to reset the muscles, by needling “trigger points” where muscle fibers are entangled and chronically turned on, causing a chronic spasm or contraction of the muscle body. Trigger point therapy essentially, is akin to hitting the reset button on your muscles. Poor postural habits lead some muscles constantly firing (contracted), and some completely turned off, unable to be recruited when needed. Trigger points may be found in both groups, or just in the over-active muscles. It is remarkable how well trigger point works for any muscle recruitment pathology, absolutely anywhere in the body. I have seen one treatment resolve this pathology. Follow-ups for maintenance as well as postural restoration exercises go a long way in keeping this problem at bay.

When to Go See a Professional

As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I encourage patients to take care of the little problems as early as possible. The young woman in the photo above is living quite tolerably and managing low grade discomfort and occasional mild-pain due to her pathology. However, any physical musculo-skeletal problem is going to cascade (see:get a whole lot worse) with time. We all know the image of elderly hunched over, and we all say that will never be us. Truthfully, I can tell which healthy 20-somethings are going to be hunched over who will stand erect, just by looking at early signs such as these in the upper body.

What Else Can be Resolved With Trigger Point Therapy?

Here is a short list of common symptoms and syndromes:

Migraine headaches

TMJ (temporal-mandibular joint, AKA jaw clenching or teeth grinding)

Back Pain (Upper, mid, and low back)

Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome 

Dizziness 

Scoliosis

Hip Pain

Lingering pain after a trauma such as a sprain

Limited range of motion in any joint

Book an Appointment Now

For Acupuncture with Trigger Point: (831) 476-8211

All other Chinese Medical Modalities or Inquiries: (831) 204-5228, jadepathstudio@gmail.com

 

 

 

Morning Qi Gong

Are you ready to start your Qi Gong practice?

img_0039-1Since I started teaching parents and teachers qi gong, I wanted to share with you a wonderful introductory video. Set aside 20 minutes to join Lee Holden in this practice, and witness for yourself the gifts of Qi Gong: energy enhancement, emotional stability and much more.

Begin 20 minutes of Qi Gong now

If you are a parent or teacher, I am without a doubt those beloved little ones could use some Qi Gong medicine. Learn how to teach Qi Gong to children, and behold magnificent transformations in children’s mood, behavior, attention span, focus, improved sleep, appetite and digestion.

Book an appointment by contacting me at jadepathstudio@gmail.com or (310) 490-8593

Photo via @wildernessculture

 

A Peek Inside the Clinic

Welcome to the clinic at 624 Frederick St
Lee prepares a patient’s custom herbal formula