Tag Archives: Inspiration

Secrets of The Hoh Rainforest: Manifested by the Barefoot Sensi

To me, being in nature is my all time, drop everything and do this for the rest of my life, favorite activity in the world! Yeah I really love nature…Ever since I was little, you would always catch me outside playing in the yard, at a park, in a tree, by a river, on a hike anywhere that has lush leaves and big trees, soft grass, cool rivers and streams. I’m there. Every weekend, I make it my goal to go on a hike at a different trail each time. It is my way of winding down and the ultimate relaxation tool. Even if it’s raining you can still catch me romping up the trail with a huge smile on my face!

Lately, I have been dappling with the idea of utilizing survival skills in an outdoor setting, including; fire building, shelter making, food foraging, plant identification, and water purification just to name a few! This concept really excites me. So much so that I do daily research on how to enhance my knowledge and skills. One day I came across a video of a man teaching people how to walk barefoot in the Hoh rainforest. It’s a crazy concept and I’ll tell you why.

If you aren’t familiar with Washington State geography, Aside from being the state that is notorious for its constant downpour of rain, the Hoh Rainforest, closely located near Forks, WA (Twilight fans?) is the most lush, most green, and definitely the most rain fall in North America! Now what’s crazy is this: imagine walking barefoot in that condition!

Mick Dodge, a.k.a. Barefoot Sensei, is an interesting character to say the least. Dodge, is known for his outlook on living along with nature and utilizing materials such as stones, sticks, trees, and other natural bits and pieces, as a form of personal strength and exercise. And he does this barefoot, for the most part! He has created this concept of an Earth Gym, a combination of natural materials, and exercising techniques to help increase strength in the body, stimulate the mind, and connecting the feet to the earth’s ground, which is more important than you may think.

National Geographic found him to be a very interesting man as well and did a series of shows called, The Legend of Mick Dodge. This show includes his way of life, his outlook on living in the Hoh rainforest, the positive magnitude of walking barefoot, and many other exciting insights on how he works with earth gym.

Mick Dodge was a former marine in the Marine Corps and served for six years. After living with the stresses of modern day society, he retreated to the calm and serene comfort of the woods. His ancestors also being woodland dwellers and his father a marine veteran as well, have been very inspirational for his love of the forest and his Scandinavian ancestry. A more intriguing question though, would be what motivated Dodge to go back to the wild, barefoot?

When Mick Dodge found that he had a chronic case of plantar fasciitis his doctors explained to him that he would have this problem for possibly the rest of his life and that there is no way to cure it. Being the sturdy, “I’ll take care of this myself” kind of guy he is, he disregarded the doctors’ diagnoses and began a new journey to focusing on his feet in correlation with nature. Years of walking barefoot actually did him some good! His pain from the plantar fasciitis dissipated and he became stronger, durable, adaptable, and now he continues to prove that nature can heal.

Going in depth about foot health and care, it’s astounding to consider how much we really put our feet and legs through every day! Driving with one foot on gas for possibly 2+hours in traffic a day straining your foot and leg, standing at work having your feet holding most of your body weight for long periods of time, or even sitting for hours cutting circulation of your hips to your legs, all of these are possible strains we put our feet and legs daily without taking much consideration of the effects it has.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the practice of reflexology (a form of massage that dates back to the fourth century B.C.) focuses on the hands and feet, in order to stimulate body functions, eliminate toxins, improve circulation and soothe nerves utilizing pressure points to relieve strains, tension, and/or pain in the body. One-quarter of the body’s bones are in the feet, and misalignment of these bones can cause problems for the rest of the body. A foot problem can lead to hip, knee and low-back pain, which can move in to the shoulder and neck and even cause headaches. The foot contains meridians related to the Spleen, Liver, Stomach, Kidney, Bladder and Gallbladder. Because all of the acupressure meridians of the body either begin or end on the feet or hands, foot health is crucially important for balance of the acupressure energy system. There are over 25 foot conditions, including arthritis, bunions, fungus, athlete’s foot, overlapping toes, corns, plantar fasciitis, ingrown toenails, and heel spurs. These symptoms, as well as sensitive areas and blockages are evidence of a disturbance in the body in corresponding areas. And example being if you have hurt your big toe by jamming it in the door edge, you may feel a sharp aggravating pain in your brain because those points are correlated to each other. The removal of a blockage in the foot improves the blood and nerve supplies as well as the energy flow to the body. The feet are one of the hardest working body parts because we are on them all the time, and doesn’t it feel good to get a foot rub? Taking care of the feet and connecting them with the feeling of foot on soil, sand, grass, water or any natural terrain can be very therapeutic and in some cases cure or assist to a cure some health concerns.

I was so enthused by Dodge’s philosophy that I decided to send an email through his website inquiring in detail about his gyms. Now I sent this in thought that someone of his “fame” (not really sure how famous he is after doing his show but still pretty infamous in the hiking/nature community) wouldn’t reply back to me.

A couple days, later a friend of his, who goes by the name of Moonhair (you would see her making guest appearances on his show) contacted me back sending his phone number. I was so excited my heart almost stopped! I took a couple days to think about what I wanted to ask and say to Mick Dodge the barefoot sensei. I finally mustard up the courage to call him and within 1…2…3 rings of the phone I hear his big burly, “Yoish (his way of saying hello) this is Mick”. For real, my heart stopped! I was so shocked that he actually answered. In excitement I talked to him about what earth gym was about, his inspirations, how to get involved and if there is a way I could meet him in person someday to learn the secrets of Mother Nature.

His answers were filled with wisdom, warmth, and education. In answering my questions he told me something that I won’t ever forget. He said,” Follow your feet and the earth will teach, this connection with nature is within all of us, there is no specific way to do things, go on a hike and be with nature, grab a stick and stretch with it, grab a rock and pick it up a couple times, walk barefoot any chance you get to be grounded. The gyms I have created are to help anyone and everyone! And the earth is a big place! Nature can cure most illnesses, it’s up to the individual to have an open mind to that concept.” He shared with me some resources to look into and helped me connect with some people who are part of the earth gym movement and I couldn’t be more ecstatic with the opportunity I had to speak with him and the knowledge he shared, as well as the future chance of meeting him in July!

When he said that nature can cure most illnesses, I thought to myself, I work at a place that utilizes nature’s roots, peels, stems, leaves, bark, seeds, etc., herbs are as natural as you can get! In combination of using herbs as medicine, hiking, being outdoors and exercising, eating organic and healthy food, being in tune and conscious of your body, your health can be in an optimal condition, and the tools are all around you!

At his age (which is unknown to me at the moment but I’m assuming he’s pretty seasoned toward the 50+ age range) Mick Dodge is still going strong, working with people, children, and anyone with an open mind and a love for nature to help improve their skill, mental and physical drive while, happily combining these skills with mother earth. Continuing to be an inspiration to many people!

In the following months, my goal still remains to go hiking every weekend, but with a twist of enhancing my proficiency by trying the earth gym resources he has provided, and utilizing the earth materials around me. Take a walk outside. Take a moment to breathe in the air that the trees clean for you, or take a moment to walk barefoot in your lawn, front porch, and gravel, anything other than padded floor or carpet for an hour a day. Ground with nature, detach from the busy world for a second and appreciate the green and beauty around you. It truly is soothing and blissful!

~Wishing You Wellness,

You Need More Than An Oil Change For Good Health

When was the last time you had an oil change? Even a new car needs an oil change when the time comes. And with an old car, not only does it need an oil change, but a full tune up, and at times parts need to be replaced and fixed. Our body is much more complex than a car and the truth is that physical illness comes from neglect and eating the wrong food. More and more people are taught to eat with a mind set of “why can’t I?” and begin following nonsensical trends. Not everyone has the same biology, which means everyone reacts to different allergens and substances differently. If a food that is scientifically suppose to have great benefits but in return has been prepared uncooked or has been eaten too much, it can cause side effects. That effect can sometimes cause a long term health disease. A great example would be Chia Seeds. Due to the high concentration of Omega -3 fatty acids, and gelatinous properties it has can act as a blood thinner. Since it is a high fiber and rich seed, it can cause gastrointestinal problems. Be aware, and don’t have a monkey see monkey do attitude.

I am learning every day. A very wise man has recently explained to me that “you don’t need to fall into every mud puddle to know it is dirty.” That goes for the usage of marijuana, alcohol, and following unbeneficial trends. We are now told that, it is good for us, but history and other informational sources have shown that it can have toxic effects on our body. How can we say things like smoking marijuana frequently and drinking a glass of red wine once a day is ok, when we know that smoking cigarettes can cause Lung Disease or Cancer and alcoholic drinks can cause Alcohol Liver? Please be more knowledgeable and think twice of the consequences. My rule is this, what is not given to a baby or child doesn’t mean that it is good for us. Your biology stays the same throughout your whole life. Learn to say STOP.

What can we do to give ourselves an oil change? Take Taifu Plus and E15. A prominent ingredient in the E15 is Po Xiao which improves disease resistance. Huang Lian, another ingredient in E15 will help relieve heat toxicity. There is no secret to life, what goes in must come out. Time and time, one will get their blood or hair analyzed and when the results return it may show that they are low in iron or Vitamin D. So naturally, you take more supplements. In Chinese Traditional Herbal teaching, internally, if a main organ isn’t working properly, it will lower your body’s processing and functioning abilities. If one neglects eating the right food, it will hinder your body’s ability to receive good, natural nutrients. Instead of supplements, we spend time with patients and help educate the patient on how to prevent illness from the start. Starting with consuming a plant-based diet, eating living cultured food, and eliminating processed food will help alkalize the body naturally and provide the body the nutrients that it needs to heal. What goes in must come out.

With Love,

The Most Precious Gift You Can Give Yourself

With the holiday season behind us, and a new year of possibilities ahead, you may be enjoying presents from the season and trying to determine how to achieve your goals. Perhaps there are some left over holiday chocolates or cookies tempting you? Or maybe you managed to consume them all up by the 31st so that you can begin that diet without distractions?

The best thing you can do for yourself to start the New Year is to give yourself the gift of presence. I’m not talking about a physical gift you unwrap, but the simple thing of being just where you are right now. With so many distractions from our phones, computers and advertisements on the radio directing our focus on everything else, let’s talk about being present in the moment. Some folks use meditation or exercise like Yoga or Running to help them enjoy moments of being present in their bodies. You can give yourself this time every day no matter what or how you want to be present.

By slowing down and being really focused on yourself for a few minutes every day, you may find that you notice how you are really feeling. How your body is doing in terms of rest, or any small aches and pains. This will let you be proactive about taking care of your health. We have this tendency in America to ignore our small aches or even ignore a stomach ache because we are too busy.

The traditional Chinese practice is one of preventative health. Grandma or an elder in the family knew how to cure or help common illnesses. The whole family knew how to avoid catching colds or even how to recover from child birth in a way that made them less likely to have complications.

As I have been thinking about the new year and the big increase in health problems among those I know in my family, I think about Hen Sen Herbs and all that Juli does to help others with the traditional Chinese remedies. What I have noticed is that this requires every one to pay attention to their health. The sooner you take care of a problem, the better. The only way to do that is to be present every day and notice any changes so that you can be proactive.

May you find a way to give yourself the give of being present every day, and take care of your health so that you may enjoy a New Year of peace and joy!

Summer Survival: Purines and what they mean

Year after year we look forward to Seattle Summer. Finally the rain has stopped and sun is back. All the summer health problems are back, from the allergies, the mosquito bites and worst of all the inflammation.

Purines are a natural substance found in some foods. When your body digests purine, a waste product called uric acid is produced. When excess uric acid in the bloodstream builds too quickly or can’t be eliminated fast enough, it is deposited as needle-shaped crystals in the tissues of the body, including joints, causing intense pain (experienced as Gout). Increased meat and seafood intake is associated with approximately a 50 percent higher risk. Those in their 40’s or 50’s, when their ability to metabolise purine starts to deteriorate, eating a lot of purine-rich foods – like red meat, organ meat, certain fish and vegetables – over a short period of time increased the risk of a (gout)inflammation attack almost five fold compared to the risk when eating fewer purine-rich foods.

As you are going to all the summer fairs, stay away from the deep fried elephant eyes, burgers, barbecues, hot dogs and the famous deep fried twinkie. That is a recipe for disaster. I can’t wait to see you come in and get the Taifu Plus Pills and DTF Pills.

How about fruits? What about high-fructose fruits? You should avoid apples, cherries, mangoes, watermelon, peaches and pears. You can safely have moderate amounts of low-fructose fruits, such as honeydew melon, cantaloupe, bananas, blueberries, strawberries and oranges, if they are well spaced throughout the day. After 4pm, stop eating an all fruit diet because it is a disaster for raising your blood sugar level. All fruits are not recreated equal.

A few weeks ago I visited Vancouver, BC with my mom and aunt. Mom got so excited to speak to a great friend there that practices Chinese Herbs. Mom runs to him showing him her hands, expressing the pain from the inflammation. The healer looks at me and then with a very serious look towards my mom. Too much high purine level foods, stop the roast pork (compulsive eating, eat on the go), deep fried foods. If you stop eating all the roasted meats, you will lessen the inflammation and crystallization in the joints that creates pain. It’s funny how as I said the same to my mom she ignored me and when Uncle spoke she actually learns the lesson about her bad habit.

All fruit, all protein, no-carb diet, too much for short period of time, only causes the body to over stress the digestive tract. Moderation and know your body type.

Love, Juli

The Way To Find More Time

Have you ever asked
for more time? Wishing that
the day was longer, and thinking
if I just had more time
than I will finish all the days
work? My father says that
work is always longer than
life. Even if you were not here,
work continues, it never finishes.

Back in the 1980’s as I was studying with my
father, I wasn’t allowed to watch TV, listen to radio or
newspaper or talk on the phone as I was working, it was
a distraction. It helped me a lot to enjoy quiet time and
to focus on my studies. Take a weekend and disconnect
yourself by enjoying quiet time by reading a book or
taking an afternoon nap. All those worries and stress
will fall off your shoulders. I was only 12-years-old
when I developed that good habit. You can build this
good habit any chapter of your life as well.
I really believe that we have to reconnect to
ourselves and overcome a lot of our stress rather than
driving on adrenalin. Stress is a silent killer, it is very
dangerous. Stress has no boundaries and we shouldn’t
feed on it, it’s poison. That is one thing my Taifu Plus
Pills can’t cleanse out, the stress related build up in the
gut. Over these couple of weeks, I had to take the Heart
Tonic due to emotional stress. I do have to say it helped
a lot. I am workable but when it comes to emotional
stress that is something else. You should have it on hand,
I am glad I did.

My father was my idol. He gave me a strong
foundation with great life practices. You must have a
dream, willing to work hard and if you fall, pick yourself
up. There are many challenges but that only makes you
stronger and better.

I love my practice and it is the art of healing.
My patients are strong, beautiful, healthy and full of
life. It’s great to stand with a group of people to inspire
and learn more than to stand alone. Knowledge helps
us make great choices and teaches us to learn from our

I have no good words on stress, only great wisdom
that was given to me. Herbs are there to heal, my
patients are the strong ones, they will drink the bitter
herbs to get well

Love Juli

You’ve Got The Power

When it comes to living a good life, some argue that there are circumstances and plain old luck that makes it possible. And, there are others who claim putting in the hard work every day is what makes them successful. When it comes to health and happiness, you’ve got the power. I believe this is true in health and wealth.

Yes, some people have more problems with their health than others. Some people start out in life very poor with no options for education. There are circumstances beyond control, but even though that is true, there is the fact that you have power. Your words and your actions are choices you make every day to use that power. Will you be kind? Will you forgive? Will you eat your vegetables? Will you drink enough water?

There are a lot of people who claim to know the secret to good health and give you a list of things to eat or exercises to do. But, when it really comes down to it, with so many options available, it is up to you. Will you make positive changes? You’re the only one who can make it happen.

Sometimes when I talk to friends about their health, they sigh with frustration. Some have to live with heartburn or high blood pressure, and I ask them why they think that is the end of the issue? More often then not, they have never thought to advocate for themselves outside of the standard practice. They accept that this is their fate, and they don’t try to change their diet or exercise. They do not realize that they can find other remedies or help.

The truth is that we have the power to change. That’s why I appreciate Traditional Chinese Herbal Remedies so much. They function not as a cure, but as a way to help the body heal and empowers it to do the job. An herbalist takes time to listen to you, and offer actions you can take to get better, which gives you the power to make a difference in your life.

So, the next time something happens and you’re not sure how to move forward, remember that you have power. The power to ask for help. The power to make changes. The power to live a good life.

Two Keys To Unlock Reaching Your Goals This Year

Happy New Year! Yes, it’s the time of the year when everyone starts to make new fitness, health and financial goals. Some folks reach their goals, and others do not. I don’t know about you, but it seems like I know less people who reach their goals than actually do.

What makes the difference? This is a question that I’ve asked for several years now, and after reading books and trying out different methods myself, I have finally found two keys that seem to make a difference. There are two, and while one of them works really well for me, I know several “do-ers” who use the other. You may try one out and then the other or do both!

Key #1: Writing it down where you’ll see it every day.

Some say there is power in writing. This could simply be a list you make for yourself, or a contract you sign. You can pledge to reach your goals with a long list of details or something small. The key here is to put your writing where you can see it! So, let’s say you write a pledge to walk 1,000 steps every day. You could write that goal down, and then put it on your refrigerator where you’ll see it every day you go to make a meal.

This kind of key seems to work really well with folks who want to make an attitude change or reach money goals.

Key #2: Accountability with another person.

We all know a lot of people sign up for a gym membership. They usually start out strong, going regularly, then slowly they stop going because life gets busy. But, do you know anyone with a personal trainer? I do, and they tend to be the ones who keep their goals in sight and reach them. Why? The power of another person is the key to accountability. If you have to answer to another person about why you put on 5 pounds, you’re more determined to keep a consistent routine. I’ve seen this work well for fitness and business.

While these two keys are helpful, remember that it really is a personal process to reach your goals. Fitness, for example, is a journey with many different paths. And, as Juli once advised, finding something you enjoy is the secret. So, while accountability is a key, find out if you love to dance or run, then find an partner to keep you motivated.

Best wishes to a healthy and successful New Year!

Laughing Buddha And My Father’s Advice For A Good Life

Laughing buddha has been a figure throughout Chinese culture as a representation of contentment. Buddha in folklore is admired for his happiness, plenitude, wisdom of contentment and open kindheartedness. One belief popular in folklore maintains that rubbing his belly brings wealth, good luck, and prosperity.laughing buddha

I can say that growing up, my life was full of happiness, I admired my father’s attitude in life and how he dealt with tough times. He has taught me the biggest lesson of all. There are three things I must remember and the first was RESPECT, second that was as important was RESPECT and the third which was most important was RESPECT. It all starts with yourself, and affects all others. Please take a moment and find that happiness. Be happy for who you are and find that true peace of mind to create that balance.

I heard one day on the radio that the biggest killer in life was loneliness! I believe that there is way too many distractions in our lives. As we start disconnecting with nature and people to focus on  electronics, we replace talking with texting, typing instead of writing, buying vegetables instead of growing our own. Please take a moment and look at yourself.  Let’s take baby steps to build a stronger village, family and really see the importance of connection.

The liver is the organ of emotions, the mother of the heart. If you notice that sleeping has been an issue and stress is high, CE pills are recommended. CE Pills are made to create a balance for the Liver and Spleen. The liver works soundly between 1-3 am, our deepest sleep. Plan on sleeping to support this. I tend to sleep at 10pm.

If you ever travel to Asia, find the Laughing Buddha, it will bring you wealth, good luck and prosperity. And, learn contentment; a state of happiness and satisfaction.



When You Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

Sometimes, you have to just put one foot in front of the other to reach your destination. Even when the trail looks long, and you can’t see the end of the trail!

Last month, I went on my first backpacking trip! My Father-In-Law is an experienced mountaineer and he led me, my 9-year-old son, and husband on a 20-mile backpacking hike through the south Cascades. We climbed about 3,000ft in elevation reaching peaks of 6,400ft! The trip lasted 2 nights, and 2 and a half days.

©Holli Margell - Norse Peak Trail along the South Cascades.

©Holli Margell – Norse Peak Trail along the South Cascades.

Despite the blazing heat in Seattle, our trip was cold enough to need jackets and hats. The Cascades at those elevations were pleasant during the day and chilly in the evenings. We had mist and fog each day for parts of our trek. There was one day in particular when we left our campsite in the mist, and couldn’t see the peak we were going to reach. It was quiet. And, it was beautiful. The experience made me realize how much like real life the trip was – sometimes you can see where you are going, and sometimes you have an uphill climb that seems endless, but helps you reach a breath-taking view!

Now, I have to be honest, I left for the trip not knowing if I would enjoy it or not. Having never backpacked before, there were parts of this kind of trip I wasn’t sure I could handle. For example, you have to bury your poop six inches below the ground level. Yes, that means you have to dig a hole first, and then poop. And, you have to cook without a fire, using a tiny single pot to boil water. Speaking of water, you have to carry as much as you can, and hope to find some along the way and then sterilize it.

I didn’t mind the lack of basic necessities like a bathroom for a few nights. And, it was really amazing to be out of cell phone and Internet range. During our trek, we hiked along some of the Pacific Crest Trail, which is an amazing trail – it stretches from Mexico to Canada. Most of what we hiked was along the peak of the south Cascades. It was along this trail that we crossed paths with 6 other people. Then, a few trail runners along our other trails. So, we didn’t see more than 10 people the entire hike – talk about a quiet trip!

Looking back, I don’t think I ever would have imagined that I could make it along a trip like this. It really pushed me to accept the inconveniences and enjoy the trade off, being immersed in nature.

Our son was so glad to be at the end of the trail on the last afternoon, that as soon as we reached the old maintenance road to the trail head, he ran the rest of the way to the car. And, he wasn’t sore after 20 miles, but I sure was!

The biggest lesson this trip taught me was that you are never too old to try something new, and you’ll be surprised what you can do and see if you go for it.

Warmly, Holli Margell

Why We Need To Spend Time With Our Elders

Did you grow up with a Grandparent or elderly neighbor nearby? I did, and I know from experience that they taught me more than my parents could, in ways that only a life long lived would provide.

For example, my Grandmother would tell me about how different school was when she was in young and how she remembered living in Alaska before it was a state. Did you know it became our 49th state in 1959? Before that it was a U.S. Territory, and my Grandma’s Dad helped build Fort McGilvray to protect America from invasion during WWII.

And, my Grandfather would watch old television shows with as much enthusiasm as we had – excited for the suspense of a simple show like the old Lone Ranger. He wouldn’t just share the fun of a television show, he’d also share his family history of growing up as a Native American, and tell us about what real “Indians” were like – which was not the same as those on the TV shows. And when he was a kid, they weren’t cool. It was embarrassing for his family to be known as Indians. Some of his friends even had to stop playing with him when their families found out he wasn’t a white boy like them.

Last month, we had the pleasure of celebrating my Great-Aunt’s 95th Birthday. My grandparents are gone, and so my Great-Aunt holds the position of a Grandparent in my children’s lives. They have learned a lot by our visits with her. My son is just learning about American history in school, and was amazed to learn that Great Aunt lived during that time and worked while her husband served in the military. He gets to learn so much more than he would from the school history books short chapter on the subject.

And though I didn’t know her until I was 10 years-old, she has taught me a lot too! She has been that example of grace and fortitude as she has shared stories of her life, and advice for how to live mine: “Be yourself all the time.” She married a military man and raised a family during WWII, Vietnam and the Cold War while still being herself, raising to any occasion to help others.

As we struggle with keeping up with technology and work, we must not forget that we need to spend time with our elders. They have a lifetime of failures and successes to share with us if we just take the time to learn. And, it’s pretty cool to find out about relatives who were a part of history!