Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Source of Acne And How To Cure It

Acne is something that has affected us all at some point in our lives. Since I was little, Grandma would say that if I drank COKE, deep fried foods, chocolate and tropical fruits, then I would have Acne. People try all sorts of facial cleanser, cosmetic coverup and spend lots of money on all sorts of advertised inventions with mixed results.

Is it true we are what we eat? Traditional Chinese Medicine differentiates two types of acne: heat in the lungs and stomach, and stagnation of phlegm with dampness and blood stagnation. In Chinese medicine, metaphors are used to describe the pathogens in the body. Acne is most often seen as “heat” in the lung and stomach meridians. Treatment also includes diet suggestions and exercise routines.

The lung meridian starts in the middle of the body and moves up to the chest. The stomach meridian starts at the face and goes through the chest. When heat is in excess in the body it rises up to the face. If a patient eats too much spicy, greasy, sweet or fried foods, then dampness or undigested metabolites are created and transform into heat. If this dampness continues for a long time then it can transform into phlegm, and cause stagnation of blood and more heat.

The heat in the lungs and stomach will present acne that is mainly on the face with oily or shiny skin. The patient with this kind of pattern might also have a dry mouth and feel thirsty, may be constipated and have dark urine. Their tongue will be red and coated white. The treatment principle is to clear heat. Acne due to a stagnation of phlegm, dampness and blood with present acne that is dark red and appears_in clusters. The sore will also be quite long lasting. In that case, AE is combined with D12 to clear the skin and enhance the immune system. The Herbs in AE is to clear skin/ anti-allergenic combined with Taifu or Taifu Plus.

One thing I have learned to be helpful for everyone, no matter what their complexion is to build yourself up with positive affirmations. As I say this to all my kids before bedtime: I am beautiful, I am handsome, I am Strong, I am healthy and I can do it. And, most important of all – yes I can!

Love yourself,

Ancient Healing Technique – Moxibustion: How It Can Rejuvenate Your Damaged Cells

pic 1Moxibustion is one of the most commonly used healing methods in traditional Chinese medicine (some simply call it Moxa). It involves the burning of mugwort as a main herb to strength the blood and the flow of Qi, which are the basis for the health of the human body. The Moxa is burned either directly or indirectly on the skin to facilitate the healing.

In the direct method, Moxa is placed and burned directly on the skin, which often scars the skin as a result. It is not unusual for a patient to experience burns and the pain in the process. Therefore this type of practice is becoming less common.

The indirect method of burning the Moxa is the preferred method of Traditional Chinese Herbalists, because of the lower risk of injury. A patient experiences a pleasant warm sensation running throughout the body and still greatly benefits from the indirect method without experiencing the pain and the burns. Traditionally, mugwort is rolled into a shape of a cigar (picture 1). And one end of the stick is lit before an herbalist holds it right above the area being treated for as long as necessary.

pic 2Over the years many Moxibustion tools have been made available for both practitioners and individuals. Some of the tools are designed in the way an individual can perform Moxibustion on himself without the risk of burning himself. They are especially beneficial for those who wants to make Moxibustion a part of their regular health regimen at home because of the ease of use. One particular type is called Moxa rolling pin (picture 2). This tool holds the burning Moxa stick inside at certain distance without making a contact with metal parts. When the tool is pressed against the skin, the heat from the Moxa is transferred to the skin through the pin and the smoke is directly applied to the skin as well. pic 3Though this tool doesn’t allow you to directly target the pressure point, it enables you to reach the area (i.e. your back) without worrying about burning your skin. It also provides therapeutic massaging effects when the pin is rolled against the area. Juliana encourages many of her patients to practice Moxibustion using this tool. (Moxa sticks and tools are available at

pic 4For some very ill patients who require greater care, Juliana offers Moxibustion treatment (in addition to herb prescription) using a more sophisticated tool and method called “Thermie” developed by Dr. Ito of Japan in 1929. This set of tools (picture 3) allows her to cover the area much more efficiently. And it also enables her to apply the pressure accurately and effectively to the pressure points while the heat and smoke from the Moxa penetrates deep into the skin (picture 4).

The exact ingredients of this proprietary Moxa stick (picture 5) has been kept secret since the invention. However, the effectiveness of this Moxibustion method has been well known to the practitioners and their patients for many years in Japan. Whether this particular method has been scientifically proven or not is unknown, but the theory surrounding it explains why it is beneficial to the health: When the heat from the Moxa penetrates the cells, it increases the flow of the blood and the lymph. This also results in the increase of lymphocytes, which is the one of the components of white blood cells. It is not hard to understand the good blood circulation is critical for the health, but the importance of maintaining the good flow of lymph is not well known.

pic 5So if you understand the functions of lymph in our system, you will know how important it is to our health. Some of the functions of lymph are: Transport oxygen, food material, hormones to the body cells and brings carbon dioxide and other wastes from the body cell to blood stream for elimination, keeps body cells moist, carries lymphocytes produced in lymph nodes, destroys the invading microorganisms in the lymph nodes, and maintains the volume of the blood to name just a few of the most important ones. The theory also further explains that Moxibustion also helps improve the function of parasympathetic nervous system; it governs and stimulates the digestive system, salivation, tears, sexual arousal, urination and bowel movement.

pic 6One of the practitioners of this method in Japan with many years of experience once said to Juliana, “With repeated treatment, it can rejuvenate and revive the dying cells and bring health back to the system.” There is no proof that their proprietary Moxa stick is any better than the ones widely available. However, it is hard to argue that the “Thermie” method works much more efficiently and distributes the heat throughout the body and targets the important pressure points most effectively.

Kaz Isogai

How To Survive The Sugar Season

Dear Readers,

Mint Chip CakeWe are entering the sugar season with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas bringing out the bakers and candy makers in our community! So, how can we survive all this sugar around during celebrations and family gatherings?

Juli has made many suggestions for patients with kids and grown kids alike. Let’s take a look at them:

1. It is simple, but hard: don’t eat the sweet treats!
2. Know how to help your body digest what you eat: if it’s sweets with a lot of fat like cheese cake, drink Pu-erh tea afterward and take E15 and Taifu Plus. And, exercise a lot to sweat it out of your system.
3. Eat plenty of good food before you are around the tempting sweet, so you won’t eat very much.
The first suggestion is the hardest of all, because we all love treats. But, think about it, how do you feel afterward? Is it worth the hangover headache you have the next morning? The pimples that will pop up overnight? The drop in energy levels? Maybe it’s not worth eating after all.

As they say “knowledge is power”! So, brush up on your herb and tea knowledge, and make sure you have tea and herbs on hand for those days when you indulge. We may go to a family party with the best intentions to not eating any sweets, but then our Aunt Maggie insists we try her chocolate cake that she took all afternoon to make from scratch. And then our Uncle Ted reminds us that we must enjoy life. Well, it’s hard to say no sometimes, so take good care of yourself after you enjoy a treat!

This might not be a new idea, but the best thing you can do before you indulge and eat sugar, is to fill yourself up with good, nutritious food first. That way, you don’t have room to overindulge. And, the best part is that your body will have good food to help it work better at pushing all that sugar out of the body the next time you go to the bathroom.

As we enjoy this sweet season, let’s take good care of our bodies and make good decisions depending on how healthy our body is right now. Some folks can make their own treats with less or no sugar in them, and others may indulge in Aunt Maggie’s chocolate cake. No matter what choices you make, remember to take good care of yourself, because no one else can do it for you!

Holli Margell, Editor