Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Power of Disconnecting

How much time per day do you spend facing a screen on the computer, phone or television? These devices have become a very key part of our lives, and yet with each new screen, we find more and more time to spend on them. Pretty soon you look around at the bus stop or park, and what have you started to see?

I’m seeing more and more parents not watching their kids play or couples at dinner not talking because they are on their phones! I didn’t realize how much I depended on my phone until my trip to Bolivia in April. We were in very rural areas and without electricity for a few days. So, those who had phones couldn’t use up their batteries by looking through emails. They had to save power to make phone calls.

I remember childhood with one phone for the whole family, and not always having a television. Taking some time to look at my own home and kids, I realized that we should spend less time on screens and make it a family rule. We’ve been limiting our screen time for a month now and I have to say, it’s much less stressful to get out the door, and even around dinner time.

As we transition our home for less screen time, we made a chart and decided that the kids could earn screen time in 5-minute increments during school days to be enjoyed on the weekends. That translated to my husband and I spending less time on our computers and phones, and we’re all playing board games or reading books a few times per week! Now, at first the kids hated me for this change. They whined and complained for only about 3 days, then started to enjoy more time to play with their toys.

My husband and I enjoy more quality time with the kids, and I’m more efficient with my time on the computer. Instead of jotting down a few ideas and getting lost doing research on various topics, I sit down after the kids are at school or asleep for the night and focus on one thing at a time. I can honestly say, I feel more focused and it was worth the short-term pain of changing our ways to let go of so much screen time!

And, yes, I did a bit of research before our family made this change. Some people make the move away from so much screen time by dedicating weekends or just a day per week away from their computers, tablets and cell phones. Other people use apps to track how much time they spend on the Internet or texting to keep track of where they’re spending too much time.

Now that summer is fast approaching, our family will have to set new rules around all the school free time. And, I look forward to more reasons to be outside so that screens don’t creep back in to make our lives more stressful.

So, no matter where you are in life or how many kids you have, there are many ways to disconnect more from technology if it’s causing stress. If you have tips to share please share, and we’d love to add it to our blog: email us so we can include your tips:

Holli Margell

Two Dots Expectation – How to make a dot disappear


The magicians illusion – or how your mind plays games.

Have you ever wanted to make things disappear, like a magician? Thanks to Marc Salem, you can now make a dot disappear. Marc is considered a world expert on non-verbal communication. He reveals in his book “Mind Games” how you can tune in to the unspoken world to become a “thought reader”. Some people call him a “Mentalist”. I found this little trick in his book where he talks about how your expectation of your mind or perception bends the reality of the world.

Here is how you can make a dot disappear.
Exact excerpt from the book:

“Hold the page about 30cm (1ft) from your face. Close or cover your left eye and stare at the dot on the left. You should see them both. Now slowly move the page toward your face. At some point the dot on the right will vanish. Stop moving the page. The dot is gone . Kaput. Now continue to move the page closer…the dot returns. Where did it go? Frankly we are all built with a blind spot where the optic nerve connects to the retina: there are no sensory receptors there. We live our lives with a large chunk missing from both sides of our visual field, but our mind fills in the picture. The mind does an amazing things. It fills in the space with things around it so you can function. You expect a wide field of unbroken vision……your mind supplies it.”

How did you do? Were you able to make it disappear. If you are interested in this kind of games or learn about how our mind work, communicate well without speaking, become persuasive, solve problem with your intuition and insight, check out his book “Mind Game” is a good place to start. Enjoy.

– Kaz Isogai

What You Should Know About Kidney Stones

Our food is the well being of life.

It is easy to fall into the pattern of eating fast, convenient, prepared food, especially in our often frantic lives. But we are not nurturing ourselves, relying on latest trends like supplements, special Atkins diets or only fruit diets. I believe that moderation is the key. A little of everything is good, too much is poison.

In the recent years, I’ve seen many female patients with Kidney stones. A pain worse than labor! If the stone is anywhere near 4mm it has to be blasted. Not trying to be mean, but men having kidney stones can appreciate women for giving birth.

The unfortunate thing about kidney stones is that once you have had one there is a significant chance that you will have another one. Fortunately, there are things that you can do that may help prevent future occurrences. Approximately four out of five kidney stones are calcium stones. Dietary factors that can lead to the development of these stones and lets get us great details.

Supplements like Calcium, Vitamin D and (ascorbic acid ) Vitamin C taken in high doses can increase stones. Too much of a good thing: When it comes to vitamins, more is not always better. Once the kidney Qi is deficient it takes a whole lot of care. We suggest our DTF Pills to help along with a good diet and not too much of any vitamin.

In many ways, we don’t really need much advice because we already know basically what we should do: eat a variety of foods, especially whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; minimize candy, soda and other empty calories; and watch how much we eat. And of course do some physical activity each day and the goal of 8-10 full glasses of fluid each day.

A trend comes and goes. The best vitamin is through foods not a pill.

“Saving Time, Giving Space, Creating a better you, follow through and love you, But we must Love one more…”


How Papa Bear Saved The Day With A Secret Plan B In Wahington DC

One of the problems I face when I travel (or everyday) with a mob of 3 growing cubs and an extremely picky mama bear is not being able find healthy satisfying meals to feed them. First of all, it is very hard to find your way around and almost impossible to find a decent restaurant in a tourist area. The food is usually very nasty and expensive. Second of all, we never ever come to an agreement on what kind of food we should eat. And for some very strange reason, papa bear is always responsible for finding food everybody likes.

Once hungry, they all whine and complain and blame me for the failure to provide good food. I usually let them go on for about 30 minute until they realize that it is not papa bears fault: we are simply in a wrong place find a good meal. All of a sudden, a 2 day old ham sandwich with completely wilted brown lettuce from a food stand sounds good enough to eat.

In the National Mall in Washington DC, where the distance between major museums and other tourist attraction are huge, you must plan your day really well ahead of time. You have to either pack your lunch in the backpack or give yourself an extra hour or more to get to the area where you can find a decent restaurant. Otherwise, you will end up eating hot dogs with greasy fries all day long.

Our family in WA. D.C.

Our family in WA. D.C.

On the first day, I quickly realized it was torture to make them walk between the attractions in 90 degree weather. Though we managed to see major attractions – including the Capitol building, a few of Smithsonian Museums, Lincoln Memorial, and a few others only after utilizing very expensive “Hop on, Hop off” bus tours – it was clear to all of us that it is not worthwhile tying to see all the tourist attractions in DC.

So I pulled out my secret plan B, and made a presentation to my family in the hotel room to see if they liked my plan. They all loved the plan and turned out that it was a highlight of our trip to Washington DC.

I would like to officially thank “Guy Fieri” for making our DC trip a memorable one. Do you ever watch the show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” from Food Network Channel? Yes, Guy Fieri is the fun, eccentric crazy haired dude who host of the show. The pizza parlor in Washington DC was being featured in his show about a week before the trip. Their pizza looked really good, and the grin on Guy Fieri’s face when he ate the pizza indicated that he really liked the pizza, he was not faking it. So I quickly took a note and got all the information about the place hoping our family would want to go there while we are in DC.

Our son at Comet Pizza.

Our son at Comet Pizza.

The night before in the hotel room , I showed them the clip from the show and hyped them up. Then I explained to them, we might run into some trouble trying to find the right bus route in unfamiliar city. They also understood there is going to be some walking required to get there besides a 30 minute ride on the metro bus. Oh boy, were we glad, we made an extra effort to get there. People were friendly and pizza was super delicious. And best of all, we realized how happy we were just to get out the busy tourist area, and enjoy the moment as a family and meet great people in a quiet local restaurant. Oh, before I forget, the name of the pizza joint is called “Comet Ping Pong Pizza! Check it out.

– Kaz Isogai

Introducing Linda Webster “A Hidden Gem In The Art World”

I would like to introduce one of our patients and a long time friend, Linda Webster. She has been coming to Hen Sen Herbs since the 70’s even, before Juli was born. She practically watched Juli grow to become a fine Chinese herbalist. She probably knows more secrets and interesting stories about Hen Sen and Juli than I do.

Juli and Linda with her beautiful painting.

Juli and Linda with her beautiful painting.

Anyway, when she came in about a month ago, she brought in one of her wonderful paintings titled “Middle March” and gave it to us as a gift. It is a painting of a dramatic cloud formation with such a intense red color. She told me that she was inspired by her friend who is a smoke jumper (wildfire fighter). Looking at the intensity of colors in the canvas, I could almost feel the heat from the fire, yet still tranquil and peaceful for some strange reasons.

If you are interested, you can view “Middle March” at Linda’s website She told me that “Middle March” is one of her very few paintings created purely through her imagination. She also told me that encouragement from her daughter helped her break out of her conventional way of painting and try something new. We all need someone to give us a little nudge once in a while in order to try something that we’ve never done before, don’t we?

Thanks for the wonderful painting, Linda!

-Kaz Isogai