All posts by leslie

Survey Health Care Systems Final Review


As of Tuesday April 12, 2016 UnitedHealth Insurance stated that they will be pulling out of the Affordable Care Act – ACA, (aka = Obamacare) in Arkansas and Georgia in 2017. UnitedHealth Insurance in 2015 in Georgia had a market share of 4.47% of the ACA business. What potential effects will this have on the membership of other companies (Anthem BCBS and Aetna insurance) in the ACA and the people they insure? What impact will this have on the overall state of healthcare in Georgia?


The AFA is expensive for United Heath and they are losing money, costs are going up to pay for these losses. There are losses related to attracting too many sick customers and too few healthy ones with the AFA.“If one of the largest and presumably, by reputation and experience, the most sophisticated of the health plans out there can’t make money on the exchanges, then one has to question whether the exchange as an institution is a viable enterprise,” The rest of the story is well-known and has been covered here extensively in the past: the inability of businesses to turn a profit from Obamacare has meant that about a dozen non-profit “co-op” plans created under the Affordable Care Act have failed, after charging too little to cover the cost of patients’ medical care, and because an Obama administration fund designed to stabilize the market paid out just 12.6 percent of what insurers requested. And Anthem last month said some rivals were offering premiums too low to provide the coverage patients require and book a profit. At the end of the day, the worst news is not for the corporations, since Obamacare is not going away any time soon. It simply means that what until now were supposedly Affordable plans under Obamacare, will soon become (even more) Unaffordable as insurer after insurer hikes premiums dramatically in order to make the biggest US governmental intrusion into the private sector in recent decades profitable to shareholders


You have a patient who wants your opinion on which ACA plan to choose based upon coverage. The comparison is between the Gold and Silver plan. Use the information from the charts on the attached pages to support your choice of either the Gold or Silver plan.


With the recent release of 2 new prices for medication, each over $7,000.00/month and both used to treat very debilitating conditions, the need for relief is a necessity for these patients. In conjunction with this we see that enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for a month. Although most of these pills were prescribed for a medical purpose, many ended up in the hands of people who misused or abused them. What impact will both of these scenarios have on the healthcare system? Provide and explain a minimum of 3 examples that can arise from the above information.


(All they need to do is drink tap water, its polluted with all the medications from recycled urine water) Painkillers are likely to be abused and are addictive in nature. There are people who find acupuncture beneficial with no side effects that drugs have. People who have debilitating conditions, who are bed ridden, unable to pass a bowel movement, are pretty much in dire need for relief, it is possible with the love and kindness of the heart and power of spirit to transform all miseries, to have victory over all suffering.  Because of the high cost of living, and health care,  it is imperative to avoid the hospital at all costs. The drugs they give people create a slew of other health problems! This is the sad but true truth. I haven’t watched television in 10 years, but I have heard the disclosures and side effects on these drugs, I have heard of the demise that these drugs have on people, I have seen with my eyes the addictions and side effects of such pain killing medications, they are all too prevalent in the population, across all age groups. I do not think such drugs are misused in nations where there is a holy presence, such as India, where meditation teachings, connection to spirit supersede all other areas of health care.

I can see why there would be legal issues with access to opiods, and making health care rules more strict with receiving such pain meds. The health care system needs more filtering for individuals receiving such substances. Maybe the people can receive less pills at a time, to avoid the pills getting into the hands of the wrong people.  Examples of pain killer abuse: Grandpa has a bottle of pills in the bathroom, grand daughter comes over for the holidays and takes a handful of pills, or the whole bottle with her home to share with her other friends. Someone breaks their arm to get more pain meds from the doctor. Rush Limbaugh has a habit of taking medications to get high, innocent but guilty crime in the eyes of the public.


Describe the four principles of medical ethics (beneficience, nanmalficience, autonomy, and justice) and give at least one example of how one of these may actually be in conflict with another of these. How should such conflicts be dealt with?


“Respect for Persons/Autonomy: Acknowledge a person’s right to make choices, to hold views, and to take actions based on personal values and beliefs

Justice: Treat others equitably, distribute benefits/burdens fairly.

Non-maleficence (do no harm): Obligation not to inflict harm intentionally; In medical ethics, the physician’s guiding maxim is “First, do no harm.”

Beneficence (do good): Provide benefits to persons and contribute to their welfare. Refers to an action done for the benefit of others” 

The conflict: Lacks a unifying moral theory that ties the principles together to provide guidelines.  Principles can conflict and the theory provides no decision-making procedure to resolve these conflicts. Difficult to weigh and balance various principles.  Autonomy in some cultures refers to individual autonomy, while in others refers to group/family/community autonomy.


It is commonly accepted that preventing illness is easier and more cost effective than treating disease. That being said, it seems to be very hard to focus on preventative medicine in the United States. Give at least three reasons why this might be true (you can only blame pharmaceuticals in one of your three reasons).


Firstly, I disagree with this question, because from my observations holistic care is integrating nicely and I see a lot of preventative medicine going on. Furthermore, I will answer the questions to the best of my ability. I do see the doldrums of modern day society on a regular basis, especially in the clinic. Obese people whom have been injured by the medical system, overburden bodies with toxins, bad diets, no exercise, and sedentary lifestyle overall. Had people used Yoga, walking, strict diet, and acupuncture all along, we could prevent the effects that a non preventative lifestyle procure.

1. Passivity. People would rather have surgery than exercise in many instances, says Megan the PT in our class, which is verifiable and true. Many people are passive (massive) and don’t want to do the work. People’s priorities are not on the right things, such as Yoga, veganism, nature hikes, camping, etc. People would rather drive to work than walk to the bus, or bike ride. People are segregated by their cubicles, cars, homes. We have an individualistic society. Had the medicine and herbalist people, the healers, the folk medicine, the preventative and naturopathic medicines of our times, been utilized, there would be lot less need for the big insurance and hospital network. The E.R and ambulance should be used a last resort, but often times are misused and overused. The health club is underused as is the nourishing foods that Earth provide, with the high nutrition, are underused. Organic foods are readily available, especially around Minneapolis area. People take vitamins is a joke! Food is medicine.

2. Dependency. Because Pharmaceuticals are easy and accessible, insurance covers the costs of pills, and there is little work involved. Clinics give out medications like candy. Over the counter drugs to alleviate pain and headaches, rather  than get to the cause/root of the problem has been an issue. Its more of a collective consciousness problem, a mind conditioning problem. People are raised to think that its ok to be dependent on the health care system. People can be lazy and over reliant on others to provide for them what they can provide for themselves. The answer to all the worlds problems is meditation, breath work, and mindfulness. When we are taught a new way of being, we can take charge of our lives, and find true emotional and physical freedom!

3. Timely. Preventative medicine is costly and time consuming, people are subjected to a overloaded work schedule. People don’t have enough free time, with families that demand their time, school schedules, work schedules, pets, errands, there just is a decline in time and time management becomes too much to handle.

Indigenous day

With indigenous on my mind…
I ate today with a bamboo spoon. I felt that the indigenous would have carved their own spoons out from a piece of wood, or simply ate with their hands. I drove past the tent tribe of Native American Indian folk, and my heart aches that these people are under the influence of our demise, the heroine and drugs we synthesize in our white man labs, sterile buildings, with fluorescent lights, and pale faces, we not the people of the sun bringing light and love of this earth, but taking what wasn’t ours, and putting boundaries, putting the indigenous away like dogs in a cage. Earth really can’t be owned. Do you think you own the land you bear your children on? Do you own the muskrat that teeters across your lawn at dawn looking for scraps that you didn’t leave behind for him because your careless attitude and absent mindedly watching the news. Do you think the indigenous would have fed the last scraps to their animal keenship? The rubbish that goes to the landfill…was that the things you bought on a credit card on a whim…not to care what the production of this item may have caused harm to the air…while you idle the car during your day job….This doesn’t pertain to all of you. Im bringing up things this indigenous day. This day that we must wonder how we came to be where we are now. Can we control the fate of man? Can we make our lives infamous with glory? Through story, when the tides turn, can we remember what it was that mattered to us most. Can we remember the smiles, the people, can we forgive the times when stones were cast and words could not be unsaid. Not this we are not this, we are not owners of this very body, this land is not ours. Mother Divine with her powerful gust can take all away in a single breath. Indigenous

Journaling 12 June 18

Cast stones aside, Heavy to carry and cause harm to others. No matter what anyone else said or did to you. Noone deserves the projections from our difficult past/lives, recreating past hurts because of our unconscious minds. EGO, edging God Away, Wayne Dyer said. Re-wiring the self through repeatedly becoming Aware, to be love and feel love, we can tread lightly through life and perhaps ascend into the angelic heavenly realm that only the sages, ancestral masters, meditation masters, self realized souls, and profoundly advanced yogi’s and the like can really know of. We all know what its like to be out the body, we just forget, part of realizing the self is to realize we are not bound by time, space, people, things. We are free unlimited, sat chit ananda. We can enjoy the freedom of Soul consciousness while in the body. This is the ultimate freedom in life. Once we realize that you and I are one and the same from the SOURCE, we can look differently, look for ourselves in others, rather than looking at differences and creating separation. Yoga means union with the self. The higher self, that which is unafflicted, that which is eternal. We can become kinder beings, we can practice ahimsa, and the other Yoga sutras, “ten commandments” and other guides for us to follow to bring peace on Earth, with ease and grace. Pleasant mindedness, non grasping, non interference, etc. So please lets open our third eyes and see the oneness. <3 Treading lightly through this lifetime, protecting the nature the Earth, the air, creating purity through thoughts, speech words. Using imagination and connection to the divine to bring all things holy into our lives, giving and receiving through love. Namaste


The warm air touches the  skin,  the mat cushions the bones, the soft blanket, the block, the bolster, life couldn’t get more simple. The music fills the air, the mantra sings in my mind to no end. The Yoga room filled with devoted students, Patanjali Yoga Sutras, and Iyengar light on life books on the shelf, essential oils, candles, dim lights all fill my senses. The room is clean clear and soft, the floors are inviting for many yoga sessions and moons to come. There no limit to how many hours to practice on the mat, or off the mat for that matter. Love endures all. The love for this practice in life consumes me, nothing else compares to this freedom and joy experienced through Yoga. I forget the doings and goings of this planet, I become immersed in bliss, with infinite consciousness. Guru force strengthens and I sip from a glass of Amrita. Every breath goes deeper, every flow becomes more complete, the asanas becoming smoother and the breath at ease. Im less preoccupied with mind and more in my body. My entire being becomes lighter, filled with spaciousness and grace. Yoga daily practice that doesn’t much else than a dedicated practice daily, year after year to allow the soul to merge with infinite consciousness and experience true freedom. If you find yourself in Jail, they can take your body and lock you up, but they can’t capture your soul from this unlimited source of grace. Yoga. Love in action, the path thru the self to the self. The cessation of thoughts, the loss of the ego, the unification of body, mind, and soul. The longest traveller in the universe is love – Swami Rama. The traveller of the soul moves thru the mind-field rather than place to place, lose is the oldest traveller the Yogi seeks this love and this is true wisdom. To know the self is true knowledge. Truth, above all else, seeking the pleasures of the world are wasteful and consume the energy, depleting one of life force. The Yoga brings equanimity, preserves the qi, builds the Qi~ The energy is maintained and there becomes balance. The becomes Sadhana. Yoga in action, The actions become tribes to God, the fruits of the harvest become offerings the the supreme god consciousness, surrender to the supreme, ishvara pranidhana. To remain at peace to live and let live, to see thyself in others, to alleviate suffering in the world, to become pure, the lifestyle changes Yoga becomes the saving grace. The soul finds intoxication in the love of life ,rather than intoxicants that usually bring a sense of displeasure. To turn inward to that inner guru the answer to all the problems in the world, to Yoga is to union with the self. All else just takes away and separates, individuals are created and the union and oneness are lost.

The room feels welcoming, the incense clears the room of energy, bringing in divine energies, the spirit flows freely into every nook and cranny, crevice and atom, and element becomes light. The light turns on within and shines without. It can be seen or felt and we know you know and I know when someone has that spark. The Yoga room is a sacred space to unify others, the Yoga practice unifies souls to find themselves. The breath deepens the heat builds up, the room builds fire to burn impurities, Tapas. Sins are forgiven, karma’s are paid off. There is a new beginning every day, to show up each day on the mat, it begins again. The soul years for the Yoga practice, life will never be the same again. Even if you haven’t done Yoga on the mat, you know because all souls have come in touch with their deeper selves and its readily available for all to receive. Even if paralyzed on a bed. Its a choice. It nourishes and provides more joy and satisfaction than any donut ever could fill. The void doesn’t need to be filled, we can just sit and observe this void. The void can be filled with divinity the sense of completion can come, fulfillment, like you have arrived and you are home within yourself. When savasana comes, the death of the practice, or the death of the small self, as one unifies and goes forward in life as part of the bigger picture, as the Big Self. The atman. The soul can be liberated and at complete rest, theres a sense of accomplishment the soul can reach complete relaxation, thru vigorous effort the body lay in deeper rest, theres contentment. Theres no grasping for things to bring joy, happiness is an inside job. Theres moderation in eating and speaking, energy is preserved. the body becomes lighter, the mind becomes serene like a clear blue lake on a calm day. Adversities have come and gone, they will continue to come like wind on a clear lake, we can move forward unafflicted untormented by the past, not to worry about the future, the present moment without the judgments, commentary, the noise! We sit legs crossed, spine straight, eyes closed. Pure inner calm, peace, silence washes the mind of all afflictions. Silence is obtained through yoga meditation and mantra. There is a transmission of energy through the initiation guru disciple relationship. This initiatory force, the Guru lineage, to protect, guide and aid one on their journey, thru the self to the self. Atman, Brahmin, call it what you will. Its a climb up a hill to get to the peak of the mountain, with the help of a Guru, this path is expedited. Close the eyes and find this journey to self transformation building a life you want, a life you take control of. Live the life you choose. know that destiny brings us all home, but you can come home sooner, don’t wait till death to rest in this immense sense of love and light. Why wait? Than sit back and laugh at this cosmic play.

-Are we here to stay? Is the question? Is this life as transient as the clear light of the solar flares. Is this life a blink of an eye in comparison to the age of this planet. Since impermanence is destiny, we may not stay here, we may die and go freely from place to place, but this is just a distraction from what we are really here to do, this is love. Let Yoga open the channels, and bring more energy and love into your life. See you on the mat. Namaste.



The person with bipolar disorder has an abundance of phlegm and fire creating a mood disorder in TCM is called Kuang Zheng. Phlegm and Fire disturb mind, Shen, Heart, ethereal & physical spirit. In western medicine this condition is viewed as Manic Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Hypomania, Postpartum disorders, Substance use disorders, Acute reactive disorders, hysteria. Kuang Zheng is a Fire or Yang pattern that is usually complicated with Phlegm covering the Heart, mind, spirit, Hun, and PO souls.  This manifests as obstruction, causing Fire to surge upwards.  It shows a relative excess of Yang and a deficiency of Yin.

Symptoms:  sudden onset, frequent episodes, irritability, flushed face, blood shot eyes, mania, restlessness, climbing to high places, public singing, unusual strength, anorexia, insomnia, constipation, Tongue is red with yellow coat, Pulse is rapid, and much congestion or stuffy nose, mania, disruption of spirit, fright, irritability, delusion, and speech affects, etc.

Treatment:  Purge the Phlegm and Fire through the Large Intestine by inducing diarrhea, Tonify Yin, and move stagnated blood, body fluids, and qi. It is a difficult task and phlegm must be removed or reoccurrence is likely.


Treatment objective
Clear damp heat (LR, Ht, GB), Tonify SP, KI, CLEAR HEART FIRE & Remove Phlegm from obstructing the orifice. Council patient on own healing abilities, to find inner strength to regain equilibrium & equanimity through meditation and Yoga. Suggest dietary therapy options, herbal formulas based on TCM pattern. Conduct Acupuncture Treatment weekly using 3 Ghost points at each session, three more thereafter. Calm the Mania, elevate the depression is treatment goal.

1.Main points: Ren 12, 13, 15
2. Calm: Du 26-28 (strong stimulation), KI 1
3. Purge Yangming: LI 4, 11, ST 36, 37, 39, SJ 6
4. Shaoyang: GB 20
5. Taiyang: BL 9, 10
• Clear Minister Fire: connect PC 5 to SJ 6
• Fire and Phlegm: PC 5, ST 40
• Phlegm in Lung system: ST 40, LU 7
• Sweating (night or daytime spontaneous): HT 6, KI 7
• Fever: LI 11, Du 14, HT 3
• Hearing voices in the head: SI 19, GB 2, PC 5
• Ghosts in dreams: SP 1, ST 45


When phlegm fire attacks the heart use San Sheng San (induce vomiting) Gun Tan Tang,  Xie Xin Tang (purge), San Huang Tang (purge) Shi ChangPU. (clears Phlegm from HT meridian), Er Chen Tang. When Yin is consumed by fire use Er Yin Jian, Ding Zhi Wan, Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San, Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan, when Qi and Blood is stagnated use Dian Kuang Meng Xin Tang, Da Huang Zhe Cong Wan, Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang. Other herbals: PHLEGM: DA CHENG QI TANG & MENG SHI GUN TAN WAN


The Chinese think that those with bipolar disorder believe they have had an invasion of ghosts.
1st Trinity, (DU 26, LU 11, SP 1) there’s the initial build-up ofPhlegm, characterized by the beginnings of psychological dysfunction, disorientation towards world, and sore throat. For wind heat conditions. 2nd Trinity, (PC7, BL 62, DU 16) life attitudes begin to become inflexible–people become set in their ways or a lot of running about “without a clue” – without decisive direction. For excessive movement of wind. 3rd trinity (ST 6, REN 24, PC 8) This is the level at which alcoholics and addicts get stuck at. They use drugs to get their Fire going. Remember the saying: “If you want to find ghosts, go to a BAR!” 4TH TRINITY (DU 23, REN 1, LI 11)

*THE GHOST POINTS: YINTANG, Du 26, LU 11, SP 1, PC 7, BL 62, DU 16, ST 6, RN 24, PC 8, DU 23, RN 1, LI 11

Lung 3. This acupuncture point is good for those with bipolar disorder who are forgetful, sad, have insomnia, cry, and talk to ghosts. Large Intestine 5 and Large Intestine 7. This acupuncture point provides treatment for manic behavior, fright, inappropriate laughter and seeing ghosts.
Stomach 25. This acupuncture point is for mania, schizophrenia, anxiety, and mental irritability.
Gall Bladder 13. This acupuncture point is for fright and manic behavior. Gall Bladder 17. This acupuncture point is for manic behavior, obsessive thoughts, and pensiveness. DU 16. This acupuncture point helps treat suicidal thoughts, sadness and fear. DU 20. This point is used in the treatment of those who want to commit suicide, sadness and crying.

Dreams in TCM


Traditional Chinese Medicine has a unique view on how dreams are portrayed. Each dream theme is connected in some way to a particular organ or emotion of the human. Dreams express when there are excess and/or deficiency relating to particular zangfu organs. A big part of TCM is learning how to create balance in all areas of a persons life. Dreams are definitely psychological in nature, but also are a great way to detect the persons physical and mental wellbeing. TCM is holistic in nature and the spiritual, physical, and mental aspects of a person are interconnected and all influence each other very much so. “Reoccurring dreams give strong indication of our current health, telling us about our desires, fears, and emotional states” (handout 6). The Yellow Emperors book states that when a pathogen enters the internal organs it may be reflected during dreams. So I reflect on various dreams I have recently had and explain the meaning of the dreams in TCM terms.

To start, I summarize the dreams and give details on the TCM explanation of each dream as described in handout 6 from our notes. I explain the dreams not in detail, just in a narrow sense just to get straight to the point.  I have had thousands of dreams but I will focus on the following dreams: fighting, anger, chaos, death, a baby, happiness, sorrow, crying, sex, and food.  To analyze these dreams according to TCM and how it relates to the various organs, I found, my dreams may relate to the gallbladder, spleen, liver, heart, kidney, and lung. The fighting dream indicates the rising of liver qi or gallbladder qi, this may be connected to some food stagnation or hypertension. Anger in dream typically means there is restlessness, excess of the liver and gallbladder, stagnation of the liver qi, and wind heat symptoms present. The chaos dream leaves one feeling tiresome, it indicates deficiency of the spleen and heart or disharmony between the heart and kidney, which is common in cases of insomnia and neurosis. The death dream may indicate big change is near. If there is fear of death there is fear of change. Death dream is not to be feared or seen as a bad dream, death means re-life, without death there is no life.  The babies dream was a happy dream and happiness in dreams indicates harmonious movement of qi and blood.  The baby in dream represents new things and new changes, there is a new phase of life, a new life on the horizon, it represents the innocent parts of ourselves, and the wellness or health of the baby represents how well our life will be, in a prophetic sense. The sorrow in my dream indicates deficiency of heart qi, lung qi, and liver yin which may be connected to depression, with symptoms of shortness of breath.   To the contrary, weeping indicates excessive lung qi, so there may also be symptoms of sneezing and stuffy nose (Joyce, Marley, 2010).  The heart organ houses the mind, also all emotions influence the heart and mind, thus sadness impairs lung qi, also depleting heart qi. The sex in the dream is the stirring of the ministerial fire and down ward movement of the damp heat. The food dream may indicate weakness of spleen, strong stomach fire, and stomach yin deficiency.

In conclusion, I did not go over every possible organ and dream scenario, but this gives you a good idea what and how the dreams are connected to the organ systems of the body or to various emotional states.  I feel that dreams influence our emotions and our emotions influence our dreams. Its possible that dreams may set the mood for the next day. For instance, how the chaotic dream made for a bad day, and the pleasant dreams created a happy mood the next day. I find it very important how we spend our time before sleep, for this has influenced what kind of dream I have had. For instance, the night I was contemplating death, I dreamt about death.

Thank you for taking time to read this. Sleep takes up 1/3 of our life, its important to analyze our sleeping habits and our dream patterns to get a bigger picture of our health.

Leslie Stangler


Joyce, Marley, 2010. Retrieved from:

Class handout 6

American culture to benefit from TCM!

This research paper to discuss the major health problems within our society and culture and how I can influence the statistics to create a healthier world for all. Health care costs are mainly attributed to chronic diseases within the USA according to Bauer, et al., 2014.  There is a poor health epidemic from lack of physical activity, smoking, drinking, poor eating habits, too much working and too much stress. People are so busy working and quite possibly exerting too much of their energy on mundane activities, void of soul and life-force energy. In our modern American culture people tend to have higher blood pressure and this may be from the higher amounts of stress and poor diet. Common diseases we are facing are diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Its seems the majority people are overweight in America. Everything is super sized, processed, and fast food. I hate to admit this about my culture, for I would much rather focus on the rest of the population who do take care of themselves. Many people do go to the organic co-op market, which is not main stream at all. I do see healthy people making great food choices, but these people also have health problems. I am certain that all human beings face some kind of suffering, one way or another, and we cannot go a lifetime without some health issue, and we definitely are not going to get out of here alive, we all die in the end. But to make life more enjoyable and easier living, if it were up to me everyone would be vegan, do Yoga, meditate,  work less hours, spend more time in nature, be with family and friends, and getting the love and support they need to thrive. I feel people need to not be so disconnected from mother Earth.
 It seems the majority of the people who show up for acupuncture are relatively in a healthier condition and watch their diets more carefully than those who mainly go to the western health care facilities. I think people who use acupuncture are smarter, eat better, lead healthier lives. I will come foreword right away with this bias point of view! It is impossible to conduct research without having some bias, that the results of most studies are in-accurate and if they say they do not have bias, how can that even be true? The whole point of doing the research in the first place to take a side and defend that side I would think. Anyhow,  I definitely see that TCM patients are ahead of the game in a western dominated society. TCMers have made the choice to take their health into their own hands and brave to try something untraditional in a western perspective or standpoint. However, TCM is going mainstream and its everywhere now, I am more than joyous that people are using TCM as a primary for their medical needs. TCM definitely has a place in everyones home, with self healing techniques and practices. I believe everyone should take responsibility for their health as a primary medical practice! I will continue to persuade others to try acupuncture, dietary therapy, herbal medicines, cupping, moxa, and Tuina. I believe energy medicines are the way to keep stress at bay. Having acupuncture is a great way to relax for an hour. We learn to slow down and be. Other cultures have not adopted the American sedentary lifestyle and the health statistics of these places are probley much better. I promote Yoga, Qigong, Tai Qi, Karate, Kung fu, Crossfit, and anything that gets the Qi flowing. I consider myself a health coach to promote wellness. I am ecstatic to learn TCM and Acupuncture to add this to my arsenal to combat disease. As a health care practitioner, I can relay all the wonderful knowledge and wisdom I have acquired over the years as a graduate student in holistic health studies to the people I come into contact with, friends, colleagues, patients, peers, etc. TCM is wonderful for treating stress related psycho somatic types of disorders and disease. The main diseases in America are stress related, with disease such as anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and depression are all to prevalent in this modern society of go-go-go, and do-do-do, and take drugs for this and that. We are growing out of tune with the bodies and Earths natural bio rhythms. We are growing sicker as a society especially with the heavy use of pesticides, chemicals, artificial dyes and what not. EMF and technologies are wreaking havoc on our brain waves that normally relax and in sync with the Schumann resonance of Earth. Frequencies are effecting us on a neurological level. I have to say we are constantly over stimulated and bombarded with EMF our poor brains need a break from stimulation.
Another downfall to our overstressed society is lack of community support and love. People are becoming more isolated from each other. Divorce rates are 50%. There is conflict and stress in every home it seems, in the very place that we should feel at home and safe. America has found a way to become individualistic, where people are glued to virtual reality, and don’t even have meals together anymore. People work to make money during the week and spend their money on the weekends, or spend money on line at work on their tablets! Its pretty insane if you ask me. Both parents are working, the kids are left to face their own circumstances and vices without proper guidance and parenting. The parents are gone at work most the time, while the kids are learning unacceptable and unnatural ways of life; with a stressed out school teacher drinking loads of coffee, the children are in front of screens now! How is this humanely possible that we have come to this in society as a people it should not be tolerated but this is what it is now. Not even learning cursive hand writing. Im definitely on a rant. Now Im probley being presumptuous, and making drastic claims, because I am only going off of what Im hearing about modern day school systems, I was in 20 years ago and I have a feeling things have changed a lot. I do feel that there are more options and alternative education learning centers. As I have chosen TCM over IT school. There are those who go off the grid. There are definitely those who know how to balance work life and family life, and spend lots of time in nature. The Yoga culture has grown so much, and TCM continues to change the lives of many. There are new age children scattered throughout the mix, who definitely can make a difference in mainstream America. Im talking about the energy healing organic eating artist, Indigo children, vs the conventional GMO eating, television watching, obese, etc. I may be showing the separation that is occurring in society. This is definitely an issue, when we look at the world, is it black and white? Are we separate? Or are we interdependent and coexist? We are a colorful rainbow actually! We do coexist, and so as a health practicer of eastern medicine, I want to enlighten those who haven’t yet discovered the real benefits of practicing a simple clean pure lifestyle and diet and how much this benefits us. All it takes is promoting health and living by example. So, what else are we up against?
It seems rich countries face chronic health problems that are attributed to long term health choices like not exercising and eating too many fatty and rich foods. Americans who are faced with stress related disease like depression and anxiety, especially so- called minorities, those experiencing social disparities, the disabled, and those who experience racism and injustice. Significant opportunities are at hand to bridge the gaps in our understanding of how social and genetic factors interact and mutually influence health outcomes (Hernandez et. al, 2017). The more stress and anxiety, the more health problems there are. Anxiety disorders are costing a lot of money for medical expenses (Revicki et al., 2012).
 In poor parts of the world, people are more likely to contract virus, from not clean water and poor immune function from not enough nutrition, also communicable disease such as HIV and Aids. “The ten leading diseases for global disease burden were perinatal conditions, lower respiratory infections, ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, diarrhea diseases, unipolar major depression, malaria, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and tuberculosis” (Lopez, et al., 2006). This is definitely a world wide problem, Tuberculosis is wide spread with people migrating to the USA from countries who have high levels of this contagious disease.  Acupuncture can definitely help alleviate symptoms, but can it protect us from contracting TB lung condition? The fate of our culture in Minnesota is sketchy. Especially as Acupuncture doctors we will come into contact with all sorts of disease, some we are risking our lives to come into contact with. We can take precautions and wear a mask, wear gloves, we can pray to God for protection, and we can keep our immune systems strong with good health practices.
There is also a lot of fear, this may be a collective consciousness thing that we are experiencing at  such a magnitude of negativity, we are living in uncertain times, with terrorism and war.  I truly believe love conquers evil. By practicing love in our lives and teaching love and light in our healing sessions, as acupuncturist, we may shine light onto the darkness. The light can grow brighter if we continue to fuel the positive energy,  a shift in consciousness occurs, to lift the collective consciousness out of the doldrums. Staying positive and using our power to place the needles where it will improve the Shen, the soul and spirit can brighten. We can help to alleviate suffering for a lot of people. With our working knowledge we can do our best to alleviate suffering.
Bauer, (2014). Prevention of chronic disease in the 21st century: elimination of the leading preventable causes of premature death and disability in the USA.
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Lopez et al, 2006. Global and regional burden of disease and risk factors, 2001: systematic analysis of population health data
Revicki et al., 2012. Humanistic and economic burden of generalized anxiety disorder in North America and Europe. Journal of Affective Disorders
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Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Assessing Interactions Among Social, Behavioral, and Genetic Factors in Health; Hernandez LM, Blazer DG, editors. Genes, Behavior, and the Social Environment: Moving Beyond the Nature/Nurture Debate. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006. 2, The Impact of Social and Cultural Environment on Health. Available from:

Musculoskeletal Disorders


In this paper I will discuss musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and some of the science behind these disorders,  how people can better alleviate the symptoms of MSD and prevent them from happening.  I will gain this knowledge through the pursuit of recent research from the online collegiate library database using the world wide web, class text books, also speaking with others who are experienced in this particular field.

MSD are largely preventable but common. “MSDs are the single largest category of workplace injuries and are responsible for almost 30% of all worker’s compensation costs” (CDC, 2017). Common musculoskeletal disorders are Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, Muscle / Tendon strain, Ligament Sprain, Tension Neck Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Compression, Rotator Cuff Tendonitis, Epicondylitis, Radial Tunnel Syndrome, Digital Neuritis, Trigger Finger / Thumb, DeQuervain’s Syndrome, Mechanical Back Syndrome, Degenerative Disc Disease, Ruptured / Herniated Disc, and many more! Essentially, these are repetitive motion injuries, but also happen from trauma like auto accident and falls.

Health care providers are at risk for MSD, while helping other bodies, they must look out for their own bodies health and safety. Occupational ergonomic risk factors to consider are high task repetition, forceful exertions, and repetitive or sustained awkward postures, while individual risk factors are poor work practices, poor fitness, poor health habits (Middlesworth, 2016). Its important to stay vigilant on the workplace and in life overall, to prevent MSD from occurring, through ergonomic awareness and proper body mechanics.  Staying strong and fit may prevent MSD from happening, I assume a strong back prevents back injuries. Body workers and health care providers must practice proper body mechanics through the use of joint stacking, this conveys power in best balance structurally sound ergonomic ways (Moran, 2017). Practicing safer movement and body mechanics on the job will prevent wear and tear and ultimately prevent MSD.  Because this is exactly the reason health care providers experience more MSD’s than other groups.

What causes MSD? A few things like car accidents, poor posture, over use, and neglect to maintain the body in a healthy condition. As I type this, my head is hunched forward, I have a knot in my neck/shoulder region, I sit up a little taller and drop my shoulders down and back, I realize the importance of posture to prevent MSD. Lack of posture creates more restrictions, imminently more micro tears, scar tissue, and lesions to release and heal from. This is the epitome of myofacial release philosophy which I will discuss more later. ‘Restrictions’ can exert force of up to 2000 pounds per square inch on the body’s sensitive tissues and organs. This amount of force can literally crush your vital structures that are near it, or wreak havoc on your tissues. Since the fascial system runs throughout your entire body, these restrictions can cause pain anywhere in the body and compromise any system. Therefore, facial release, proper body mechanics, and receiving regular acupuncture will benefit those suffering from MSD.

Friction can cause MSD because of wear and tear to the bodies tissues, ligaments, joints. Friction is when two body parts are rubbing together and the tissues begin to wear out, a good example is in the thumb joint from constant texting, carpal tunnel in the wrist joint from repetitively sleeping with the hand bent a certain way.  Degenerative disease of spine is another example of wear and tear, when the discs between each vertebra degrade or become much thinner, causing a pinched nerve and numbness tingling of the extremities. There are also accidents that occur, we fall on our butts in MN on the ice, we get whip lash from an automobile accident. These are examples of  non wear and tear MSD. Disorders can happen anywhere in the body and at anytime in ones lifespan. It is more likely that an elderly person will fall and obtain an MSD because there are other factors involved like osteoporosis, heavy alcohol use, general dizziness, and lassitude. It is highly likely a competitive athlete will obtain an MSD during their sports career especially rotator cuff muscle in the base ball player, torn meniscus in the soccer player,  and tendonitis in the tennis player. There are common injuries in Yoga as well, sciatica from over stretching the ham strings, cervical spine and lumbar spine compression fractures from head stands and wheel poses. Anytime theres micro trauma and injury to the soft tissues you have an MSD. Numerous micro traumas result in Cumulative Trauma Disorder. Trauma, repetitive motion,  poor postures over time,  surgery, and scar tissue are all causes for MSD. MSD can manifest in many ways such as broken bones, dislocations, fractures, pulled ligaments, sprains, strains, ruptures, subluxation, etc. It can be painful. Its best to prevent these things from happening. Always use your legs not your back to do heavy lifting! Use surgery as a last resort. Herniated discs do recover within 4-6 weeks (Robinson, 2007). There are numerous ways to treat an MSD.

Once MSD happens, it can take a short and sweet or long time to recover, this depends on the severity and duration of the injury. Right away, once an MSD injury happens, we have inflammation and its best to  practice this injury protocol-PRICE: protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (Campagne, 2017).  Swelling and edema occur around injuries, initially cold therapy will reduce swelling, after 24 hours use heat. Heat therapy for MSD is amazing at reducing inflammation and swelling and releasing heat and toxins. Other healing modalities are acupuncture, massage, hydrotherapy, tens unit, myofacial release, and whatever it takes to increase blood flow, decrease stiffness, pain, spasms, decrease inflammation.

Wound healing occurs in three overlapping phases, inflammation, granular formation, and matrix formation or remodeling  (Marcus, 2017). Fibroblasts are what repair damaged tissues. Wound healing cannot occur without the proper functioning of these three phases and the function of the fibroblasts. During the healing process theres a condition called “denervation supersensitivity” which develops as the scar tissue forms and nerve endings grow into the fibrotic tissue. This causes super sensitivities by restricting the motion of the affected tissue and creating pain (Graham 2009).  This may be a contributing cause of fibromyalgia, a disorder where people experience numerous symptoms and significant pain. There are ways to manage the pain during the healing process.

People with MSD can visit an immunologist, physiatrist, pain specialist, plastic surgeon, chiropractor, acupuncture practitioner, osteopath, podiatrist, massage therapist, and physical therapist to manage the symptoms of MSD. Time heals all wounds. I found compression to help around the knee after having a torn meniscus. Acupuncture releases pain relieving endorphins.

I take particular interest in Myofacial release for its gentle approach to healing MSD. Doctor Still, MD founded osteopathic medicine and he observed the fascial system, a quote by Dr. Still, (Still, 1910)

The fascia gives one of, if not the greatest problems

to solve as to the part it takes in life and

death. It belts each muscle, vein, nerve, and all

organs of the body. It is almost a network of

nerves, cells and tubes, running to and from it; it

is crossed and filled with, no doubt, millions of

nerve centers and fibers to carry on the work of

secreting and excreting fluid vital and destructive.

By its action we live, and by its failure we

shrink, or swell, and die. Each muscle plays its

part in active life. Each fiber of all muscles owes

its pliability to that yielding septum-washer, that

gives all muscles help to glide over and around

all adjacent muscles and ligaments, without friction

or jar. It not only lubricates the fibers but

gives nourishment to all parts of the body. Its

nerves are so abundant that no atom of flesh fails

to get nerve and fluid supply therefrom.

He states, “It not only lubricates the fibers but gives nourishment to all parts of the body. Its nerves are so abundant that no atom of flesh fails to get nerve and fluid supply therefrom”, this is very important to realize how crucial hydration and nutrition is to nourish all the bodies systems, bones, and muscles. Fluids bring vitality, life, and strength to the body. Without fluids the body becomes  inflexible, rigid, there is disorder, and death is imminent. Massage moves the toxins from the tissues, and into the lymph system to be drained out the body through the urine or to the surface to be released through the pores as in sweat. Every massage therapist I know motivates others to hydrate! hydrate! hydrate!

Pioneer John. F. Barnes developed the innovative healing technique; myofacial release, to heal MSD among many other disorders of the human body, he’s been in practice since the 60’s. Let me explain what facia is.  The facia is what binds the body together and nourishes the body with qi and blood. Kwong (2013) explains that all medical students are taught about various organ systems: cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and neurological systems and the fascia is part of all of these systems.  Derrick Lundberg (2015) explains how myofacial release works. He stated that the facial network is super conductive and excitable, the meridians are a super highway for energy to transmit from one body system to another. Its clear to see that the facia connects all the body and all systems are interconnected and interdependent, and the superficial layers of the facia are a direct link to heal all organ systems of the body! This is TCM theory at its finest. Myofacial release is a widely employed direct manual therapy which utilizes specifically guided mechanical forces to manipulate and reduce myofascial restrictions of various somatic dysfunction (Bordoni, 2017). The healing of tissues is expedited through the release of tension and increased circulation. This is done through long holds and applying direct static pressure to the area that is damaged. The practitioner palpates the fascial restriction, applying pressure into the direction of the restriction, until resistance is felt, then the collagenous barrier is engaged for 90–120 seconds until a softening of the tissues happens. This brings great relief to the persons with MSD. Practitioners use slow manual force to tight fascial areas to break the fascial cross-links, a transition from gel to sol state in the extracellular matrix (Bordoni, 2016). Restrictions form in the fascial system creating lesions that can be found by the bodyworker. The fascial system stores memory from physical, mental, and emotional traumas. The body has ‘muscle memory’ and any traumatic pain injury can cause pain long into the future unless you move through the issue on a holistic level- mind, body, spirit.

Issues stay in the tissues. Just as the systems of the body are interconnected the body and mind influence each other dramatically. According to TCM wisdom, emotional pain manifest in the physical body and the physical pain can have long lasting effects on the persons state of mind, it goes both ways.  Its of utmost importance to become aware of the body’s subtle energetic systems that alter the body mechanic as you go about your business, also as a way to manage pain and to become more aware of your stress threshold or how much your body can handle before you know its time to quit to prevent injury. Your body wears out, you can only abuse it so much before parts need replacing or you must modify your routine or adapt to the MSD you have acquired. Becoming a meditator, you become more expansive and can see the whole picture, you become mindful of the body and how it feels. Becoming present in the moment, people stress less, and have less accidents. Theres really no need to accept nor reject things in the world, this only adds to the stress. To contemplate, this practice gives the body time, space, and energy to heal from the physical, mental, spiritual ailments.  All the constriction we create in our minds and bodies, over time, creates tightness, its a negative feedback loop. If not properly dealt with the help of an integrative health care provider, or through holistic means, the body will keep screaming for help and pain will be persistent. Its all about gaining some awareness and tuning into our bodies and getting the help when we need it and taking care of the self.

In conclusion, all functions of body have a relationship to the facia of the body, massage is very important part of wellbeing and healing MSD. Having better body mechanics in everyday life can prevent another MSD from occurring. Practices like Yoga, acupuncture, meditation, and myofacial release can do wonders to release years of tension.


Moran, 2017, personal communication.

Lundberg, 2015. Multiple Sclerosis

Middlesworth, 2016. How to Recognize Ergonomic Risk Factors in the Workplace. Retrieved from

Campagne, 2016. Overview of Fractures, Dislocations, and Sprains

Department of Emergency Medicine, University of San Francisco – Fresno

Retrieved from,-dislocations,-and-sprains/overview-of-fractures,-dislocations,-and-sprains

Kwong 2014. ,Fascia—current knowledge and future directions in physiatry: narrative review. Evan H. Kwong, Thomas W. Findley. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development.  June 2014 v51 i6 p875(10).

BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 2012, Volume 13, Issue 1

Liptan, 2010.  Fascia: A missing link in our understanding of the pathology of fibromyalgia. J Body Mov Ther. 2010;14(1):3-12. [PMID:20006283]

Stecco et al. 2010. The ankle retinacula: Morphological evidence of the proprioceptive role of the fascial system. Cells Tissues Organs. 2010;192(3):200-10. [PMID:20197652]

Dolly, 2011. Neurotherapeutics to inhibit exocytosis from sensory neurons for the control of chronic pain

Gupta, 2015. Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorder and alternative medicine therapies among dentists of North India: A descriptive study. Retrieved from

Bordoni, 2016. Understanding Fibroblasts in Order to Comprehend the Osteopathic Treatment of the Fascia

Still, 2013. Osteopathy research and practice. Kirksville (MO): Published by the author; 1910.

Marcus, 2017. Musculoskeletal Disorders: Healing Methods from Chinese Medicine

Graham, 2009. Active Release Technique/Laser Therapy

Treatment for Musculoskeletal and Nerve Soft Tissue Injury. Retrieved from

Heart Disease: A short review

Heart Disease by. Leslie Stangler

for Dr Mummaugh at AAAOM

Dec. 3, 2016

It  seems there are more heart attacks on a Monday morning when people are arising to go to work, which is a stressful event for most of us. This brings up many questions for me. Does stress impair cardiovascular health, as the saying goes, stress kills?  It is known that heart disease is more common for women than men, why is this ? Is heart disease related to brain disease, such as Alzheimer’s?  It is my goal to find the connection between stress, heart disease, and brain health from recent research articles and share those findings with you.

It is important for me to include a bit on TCM; for this healing modality is no longer considered alternative or complementary but a mainstream method for health and healing for all people everywhere. Every person has a mind, body, and spirit; the body is interconnected, and when one is not in balance the others suffer right alone with it, this is holism. In this short 5 page paper, I will discuss heart disease, what are the causes of heart disease, how heart disease and brain health are connected, what are symptoms of heart disease, and include a tidbit on eastern philosophy of heart disease. First, I will get to the root cause of most illness, stress.

Stress and heart disease.

Stress is defined as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances” (Mosby’s Dictionary, 2009).  As we learned in class, the bodies natural response to stress is fight or flight, and the body begins to release the hormones such as adrenaline and epinephrine to stimulate the body into the fight or flight response (Elaine Marieb, 2011, p. 702). According to numerous scientific research studies and medical journals, those who are exposed to more stress are at greater risk of contracting cardiovascular disease (Laura Kubzansky, 2009). When stress occurs inflammation is on the rise, oxidative damage occurs, and vascular dysfunction and injury are more likely (Kubzansky, 2009). When the body releases stress hormones, the heart rate goes up, blood pressure rises, breathing becomes more rapid, digestive system slows down, immune system goes down, muscles become tense, and we do not sleep with this heightened state of alertness. With the constant state of stress, poor eating habits, and lack of physical activity that is all too prevalent in modern day society; its no wonder heart disease statistics are on the rise. Modern lifestyle habits are deemed harmful to the body. When the stress hormone cortisol is released from the adrenal glands it may wreak havoc on the body if the stress continues for too long. When people are stressed and eating cheeseburgers on a daily basis, the heart is becoming congested, circulation is strained, and the heart fails. But why do women suffer from heart disease more than men? It is discovered that women suffer illnesses that lead to heart disease more than men do, disease like obesity, depression, stroke, renal and heart failure (American Heart Association, 2016). Women are more likely to die a year after a heart attack then men are (AMA, 2016). Next, I discuss the different types of heart disease.

Kinds of heart disease

Recent research has shown us that 60 million or more American citizens suffer from some form of heart disease, including coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and cardiac arrhythmias (Rosick, 2007).  The following is a list provided by the World heart federation (WHF). Rheumatic, hypertensive, ischemic, cerebrovascular, inflammatory, congenital, and heart failure heart diseases, types of Inflammatory heart disease are valvular, pericardial, cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis heat diseases, types of cerebrovascular heart diseases are atherosclerosis, cerebral vascular, stroke, transient ischemic attacks heart diseases, types of Ischemic heart disease s are angina, atherosclerosis, coronary artery heart diseases, heart attack, also sudden death. The most serious of heart diseases is coronary artery disease because it is America’s No.1 killer (WebMD, 2016). Heart attack is likely having this disease present. Arrthymia is also dangerous, when the heart doesn’t beat in sync.

The majority of these heart diseases are results of people’s lifestyle choices. There are others who are born with heart diseases, called congenital heart diseases and there are different types like heart valve defect, muscle or wall defect, vessel defects, not all likely treatable but its possible to live with them in a more careful way (WebMD, 2016). There are proven steps to reduce the risk of contracting heart disease if born with heart problems (AMA, 2016). Heart disease is a serious matter, but with the idea of epigenetics we too can control our fate with the use of therapeutic measures to stave off cardiovascular diseases (Charbel Khalil, 2014). Epigenetics is a wonderful idea that we mustn’t believe genetics is the only contributing factor for disease like heart disease, that we are in control of our health, at least 50% of the time. On one hand, “Heart failure (HF) results from a complex genetic predisposition and multiple environmental factors” according to Khalil (2014), and on the other hand, with epigenetics, people are programming and modulating gene expression of relevant cell types involved in heart disease. We are more than our genes!  Our genetic predispositions can be altered! Change is possible.

There are many symptoms to look out for that give clues to what heart disease might be present. A few signs that you may be at risk for heart disease are: sleep apnea, yellow/orange bumpy rash,  poor grip strength, dark spot under nails, dizziness, sexual problems, abnormal skin color changes, bleeding gums, dark velvety skin patches, trouble breathing, edema, and fatigue (WebMD, 2016). Other symptoms of heart problems are pain down the arm, jaw pain, nausea, snoring, coughing, cold sweats, edema, and irregular heart beat (WebMD, 2016). These are danger signs that something is not normal in the body and radical changes need to occur to bring the health back to normal.

There is one not on the list that I am familiar with, pulmonary vascular disease, which is any condition that effects the route between the heart and lungs (WebMD, 2016). The article I found claims that hypertension can occur within the vascular network, this can cause shortness of breath from the heart failure, autoimmune disease, or lung disease. Its also possible for a blood clot to travel to the heart into the lungs; if not reabsorbed into the body it causes further lung problems and chest pains (WebMD, 2016). If there is congestive heart failure already present, than people are sure to have pulmonary vascular disease as well, it is most certain breathing will be an issue. This leads me into the next topic, since once the breath is compromised, the brains health will be too.

Heart Disease and Alzheimer’s

The brain and the rest of the body need oxygen to survive. If there is heart disease, the brain will not be getting the blood and oxygen and other nutrients it needs to function at optimal levels. “Heart failure is associated with changes in brain regions that are important for demanding cognitive and emotional processing” claims Almeida et al. (2012). Poor circulation or a strained heart muscle may be a cause for Alzheimer’s according to recent research. In one study they found that heart failure patients had worse immediate and long-term memory and reaction speeds than healthy people, also, the brain scans showed that heart failure was associated with loss of gray matter in areas believed to be important for memory, reasoning and planning (MedicineNet, 2012). Hypoxia is when the brain is being starved of oxygen, a known cause of Alzheimer’s, or memory loss or dementia (Rosick, 2007). Alzheimer’s now affects more than 5 million Americans, including one of eight Americans aged 65 or older and nearly half of those over the age of 85 (Rosick, 2007). This is enough people to be concerned for our own health and that of our loved ones. If heart health and brain health are correlated, this is reason enough to take better care of the heart muscle to keep our brains up to speed. If more people understood the importance of heart health all throughout their lives and did not take their bodies for granted there would be less people sitting in a wheel chair drooling from the side effects of drugs later down the road, and ultimately less health care costs.

Cardiovascular exercise is important for heart health and brain cognition. The things that keep the heart & brain healthy are walking, Yoga for improved circulation, clean diet, and living relatively stress free; its as simple as taking the dog out everyday and eating a vegetarian diet void of GMO’s and processed foods. We can avoid health problems with consistent effort, because there are too many diseases on the charts that can be detrimental to ones health and longevity. Its never too late to get healthier, its much better than the alternative. Ive read consuming coconut oil can reverse Alzheimer’s but Ive also read coconut oil is a saturated fat and clogs the heart, so either way we are not getting out of here alive. So might as well take good care of the health with the help of some TCM.

Chinese Philosophy on heart disease

Heart disease occurs when heart qi is weak. The treatment is to tonify the heart qi to strengthen the heart so blood is distributed to all areas of the body as needed. Impaired blood flow is blood stasis, a major cause of disease and pain. TCM is a holistic healing practice that believes disease begins in the psyche and eventually manifests itself in the physical. Emotions like sadness weaken the heart qi, because lung qi and heart qi are connected. Anger effects the heart indirectly. All emotions effect the heart, especially over joy. Anger in particular causes heart fire to increase from the liver yang rebelling upward and outward much too freely. It weakens the lungs ability to hold down the liver qi. The pulse will be empty, the face flush or dull, a crack down the center of tongue, palpitations of the heart, deep and weak heart beat because yang qi not moving the blood efficiently. This is information I gathered from Sacred Lotus Chinese Medicine website.


Almeida et al. (2012). Cognitive and brain changes associated with ischaemic heart disease and heart. European heart journal, 07/2012, Volume 33, Issue 14

American Heart Association (2016). Heart attack risk factors: women vs men. Retrieved from:

Heart pattern differentiation. Sacred Lotus. (2016).

Khalil, C. (2014). The emerging role of epigenetics in cardiovascular disease. Retrieved from:

Kubzansky, L. (2009). Aldosterone: A forgotten mediator of the relationship between psychological stress and heart disease. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews

Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 80–86

Marieb, E. and Hoehn, K. (2011). Human Anatomy and Physiology. 7th Edition. Pearson Publishers. 

MedicineNet (2012)  Retrieved from:

Rosick, E. (2007). The Deadly Link Between Heart Disease and Alzheimer’s.

stress. (n.d.) Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. (2009).

WebMD (2016). 12 clues that you might have heart disease. Retrieved from:

Medically reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on June 07, 2016

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Articles on Ayurveda

1. Ayurvedic Diets for Wellness and Disease Intervention

  1. Kalyani Meduri, MD, MS1
  2. Gerard Mullin, MD, CNSP2

  1. 1the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa

  2. 2The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland
  1. Kalyani Meduri, MD, MS, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, C34 GH, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242; e-mail:

A yurvedic medicine, also called Ayurveda, is a holistic system of medicine that originated in India several thousand years ago. The term Ayurveda combines the Sanskrit words ayur (“life”) and Veda (“knowledge” or “science”). Thus, Ayurveda means “the science of life.”

Ayurveda is based on the belief that everything in the universe is made up of 5 great elements or building blocks. These are earth, water, fire, air, and ether (space). Every human being is made up of these 5 great elements and the immaterial self. Ayurveda identifies 3 basic types of energy or doshas that are present in everyone: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Furthermore, Ayurveda suggests that the cause of disease is an underlying imbalance–either an excess or deficiency of Vata, Pitta, or Kapha.13 The attributes of the doshas and their specific combination within each individual help determine the individual’s physical and mental characteristics—the person’s constitution (Prakriti). Recent studies have demonstrated that classifications based on HLA gene polymorphisms in the human population can be correlated to the different Ayurvedic constitutions4 and that doshas can be statistically quantified.5 While Ayurveda has been practiced for thousands of years, supporting evidence in the form of clinical trials is lacking. This paper summarizes the 3 doshas and the proposed Ayurvedic dietary treatments to promote balance of the doshas.


Vata is composed of the 2 elements ether (space) and air. Vata is described as the subtle energy associated with movement and governs breathing, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, pulsation of the heart, and all movements in the cytoplasm and cell membranes. The most revered Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, defines the characteristics of Vata dosha as dry, cool, light, rough, and agitated. Factors that can cause Vata dosha to increase in the physiology include a diet that contains too many dry or raw foods, overconsumption of ice-cold beverages, exposure to cold, dry winds, a variable daily routine, too much travel, and mental overexertion. Thus people with Vata as their main dosha are thought to be especially susceptible to skin and neurological conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, anxiety, memory problems, and insomnia. Vata is the predominant dosha of old age. Suggested management includes sugestion of foods that are liquid to balance dryness, foods that are smooth in texture to offset roughness, and foods that are warm or hot to balance the cool nature of Vata. The 3 Ayurvedic tastes that help balance Vata are sweet, sour, and salty. It is recommended to reduce intake of the bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes.

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations for Vata Balance

Cooked grains of rice, wheat, and oats are heavy and are supposed to balance the light nature of Vata dosha. All sweet and well-ripened fruits like apricots, avocados, bananas, berries, cherries, coconut, grapefruit, and papaya and sour fruits like lemons, oranges, pineapple, peaches, and plums balance Vata dosha. Vegetables like asparagus, greens, carrots, peas, zucchini, squash, parsnips, and sweet potatoes when cooked with spices like dried ginger, basil, fennel, black pepper, basil, cilantro, thyme, mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, mustard, oregano, and fenugreek are proposed to enhance the Vata dosha. White meat, chicken, and fish should be baked or broiled. Maintaining regular routines and walking for 20 minutes 4 times a week help restore Vata dosha.


Principally made up of fire and water, Pitta expresses itself as the body’s metabolic system. Ayurvedic belief states that pitta governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, and maintenance of homeostasis. At the cellular level, Pitta is responsible for oxidation, conjugation, reduction, phosphorylation, enzymes, and hormones. When someone is in balance, Pitta promotes understanding and intelligence. People with a predominantly Pitta constitution are thought to be susceptible to hypertension, heart disease, infectious diseases, dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease, diarrhea, skin rashes, and disorders of liver. The attributes of Pitta are hot, sharp, light, liquid, mobile, and oily. Although Pitta, like Vata, exists in every cell of the body, the major sites of Pitta are believed to be the stomach, duodenum, small intestine, liver, spleen, pancreas, heart, eyes, and skin. Pitta is predominant during teenage and adult life. The 3 Ayurvedic tastes that help balance Pitta are sweet, bitter, and astringent. It helps to avoid salty, pungent, and sour tastes for Pitta dosha.

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations for Pitta Balance

Heavy grains like rice, wheat, barley, and oats when cooked are thought to help counter the light nature of Pitta. Vegetables like asparagus, bitter greens, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, sweet potatoes, celery, and okra when cooked with spices like cumin, curcumin, cardamom, cilantro, fennel, small quantities of black pepper, Chinese cinnamon, mint, saffron, and dill are excellent Pitta dosha–enhancing foods. All cooked lentils, dairy, and nuts promote Pitta dosha. Skipping meals causes excess Pitta fire. Leisurely walks rather than excessive physical exercise counter the fiery Pitta. Water-based exercises help to balance Pitta.


The third dosha is Kapha, which is described in Ayurveda as moist, steady, cool, heavy, soft, and slimy materials. Made up of water and earth, Kapha is responsible for the normal body moisture, stability of the joints, firmness of the body, a proportionate bulk, weight, strength, endurance, and courage. Kapha is heavy, cool, wet, and stable. The major site of Kapha is the chest, and the other sites are throat, head, trachea, joints, stomach, lymph, fat tissue, nose, and tongue. Kapha dosha is also said to be predominant during childhood years. Kapha disorders are characterized primarily by phlegm. Kapha imbalances cause most respiratory disorders, colds, flu, asthma, bronchitis, swollen glands, and benign tumors. The heaviness of the earth element causes sluggishness, excess weight, diabetes, water retention, lethargy, and headaches.

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations for Kapha Balance

Lighter grains like barley, millets, rye, corn, and dry oats help balance Kapha dosha. The 3 Ayurvedic tastes that help balance Kapha are pungent, bitter, and astringent. It helps to avoid salty, sweet, and sour tastes. Pungent asparagus, peppers, onions, and garlic; bitter eggplant and spinach; cruciferous plants like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower; and raw fruits and vegetables are preferred. Most spices, especially ginger, are Kapha promoters. Red meat and seafood cause Kapha imbalance and should be avoided. Most diary products aggravate Kapha dosha. For people with Kapha tendency, dry cooking like baking, broiling, and grilling are preferable for over moist cooking such as steaming, boiling, or poaching to balance the watery nature of their constitution. Honey is the preferred sweetener over sugar. Regular physical activity, diet moderation, mental challenges, and emotional bonding help balance Kapha dosha.


According to Ayurveda, diseases are mainly caused by imbalance of the doshas. Knowledge of our constitution helps us to follow the right diet and lifestyle to restore and promote the harmony between the doshas in our body. Ayurveda practitioners beleive that knowledge of our constitution helps us follow the right diet and lifestyle to restore and promote the harmony between the doshas in our body and thus pave the way for healing.68

Article Notes

  • Financial disclosure: none declared.


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The branding of ayurveda as a market strategy for the health consumer has become an important factor in the creation of ‘New Age orientalist desire’. Using Vedic Village as a case, this paper shows how new age orientalism has been spread in modern India to middle class professionals, entrepreneurs and overseas health tourists. With this representation, ayurveda has become a wellness therapy instead of a means to restore health, and affluent people can now buy a package of ‘ayurvedic healthy life’ without changing their lifestyles. In addition to Euro–American health tourists, emerging middle class professionals and entrepreneurs in modern India have also become an integral part of the process of ‘new age orientalization’. This paper concludes that the commodified version of ayurveda, which has been developed in the West as part of ‘wellness and spa culture’, has become popular among the affluent middle class in India and abroad today, and through this the West has claimed and justifies authority over Eastern medicine.

KEYWORDS: new age; orientalism; ayurveda; wellness; sociology

Full Text:


Recognizing the need to cater to the physical and mental needs of the middle-class, large corporations have explored different services and products. Increasingly, the developments of services and products that focus on holistic lifestyle and holistic medicine have caught the imagination of big and small corporations–as well as that of the middle class, who become ready consumers. Aggressive marketing for ‘wellness and spa culture’ under the banner of ayurveda is an indicator of ‘new age desire’. The commodification of ayurveda started in India when the large ayurvedic drug manufacturers started to link commercially-prepared ayurveda to Indian civilization, and as a symbol of it, with a revivalist inspiration (Nichter, 1996, p. 292). Today, ayurveda has largely become a middle class urban phenomenon and has turned into fast moving consumer goods (Bode, 2008) that are offered as remedies for the urban middle class diseases of affluence, such as obesity, stress, impotence, etc., as well as to enhance body–beauty–health consciousness. Ayurvedic service providers broadcast advertisements over various media repeatedly and portray a new image of wellness and the healthy life their clients enjoy. They offer a broad spectrum of choice, and packages include physical exercise, tutorials about healthy life, yoga sessions, various ayurvedic oil and massage therapies, dietary regulations, etc. Such advertisements for spas and wellness centres ‘frequently portray images of slim, bronzed and fit people enjoying an active and outgoing social life’ (Laws, 1996, p. 202). Various advertisements for dietary routines and physical exercises proclaim how individuals can influence and control their physical and mental images (Laws, 1996). Many advertisements and web pages for such health tourist resorts use Western actors and actresses and show Westerners enjoying healthy lives, thanks to Indian medical systems. This paper examines the development of the notion of ayurvedic holistic lifestyle services and products in response to modern demands. A case study of the Vedic Village will enable us to understand how the indigenous ayurvedic health system has been commodified to cater to both local and global consumers.


This research is based on qualitative study. The objective is to explore the nature and trend of the commodification of ayurveda. Promoting ayurveda as a market strategy turns out to be a form of ‘New Age orientalism’, with ayurveda playing a part in new consumption behaviour. The rapid growth of ‘wellness and spa culture’ for rejuvenation is the key break here.

The field work was conducted in the Vedic Village, a recently-built ayurvedic tourist resort and spa which middle class and wealthy patients and clients visit. It has been developed by a private commercial enterprise based in Kolkata, the Sanjeevani Group. It is located in Rajarhat, a rural area approximately 40 minutes drive from Kolkata city centre and only 20 minutes drive (around 15 kilometres) from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. The major reason for choosing Kolkata is my language advantage. It is a city habited predominantly by the Bangla-speaking ethno-linguistic group to which I belong. The well-appointed villas and rooms present an environment of character and modern culture and cater to upper-middle-class lifestyle requirements. Currently, there are 40 well-equipped villas available for health tourists to stay in. However, the target is to build approximately 500 houses inside the village compound and sell them as vacation houses to outsiders of the upper middle classes who aspire to such a lifestyle. The cost range is approximately INR 3,000,000-4,000,000 (US$ 75,000-100,000), depending on interior decoration and facilities.


Many owners of these houses stay in the Village for a period of time each year; at other periods the Sanjeevani Group manages the villas and fills them with tourists. As in many resorts with privately-owned housing units, this system guarantees a source of income for the owner, depending on the occupancy rate. The total village complex occupies 120 acre of land and is surrounded by lakes and ponds.

During fieldwork, there were five professionally trained ayurvedic and alternative physicians working in the Vedic Village spa resort, including two ayurvedacharya with Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicineand Surgery (BAMS) degrees and three holistic doctors holding Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) degrees. One of the holistic doctors had professional training in Naturopathy, while the others had expertise in acupuncture in addition to their BHMS degrees. Apart from these trained physicians, there was a professionally trained Yoga master and dozens of ayurvedic therapists working in the Vedic Village wellness centre and health spa to provide Yoga session and ayurvedic massage therapy. The largest number of service providers were ayurvedic-trained therapists, who held diploma degrees in ayurvedic therapy–most of them were from Southern India, particularly Kerala state.

The Vedic Village today offers three types of alternative therapies: ayurvedic therapies, spa massages, and wellness therapeutics. All these include different massages of various duration and price. Many health tourists are attracted because of the therapeutic services that Vedic Village offers in a tranquil environment.

The fieldwork was completed in two phases, during August–September 2004 and July-September 2005. The major data collection techniques for primary data gathering employed in this research consisted of individual interviews with semi-structured questionnaire (2), and participant observation. Statistics from the Vedic Village client register book were also collected.

In my fieldwork I interviewed two ayurvedacharya (ayurvedic physician) and five ayurvedic-trained therapists. Ayurvedic-trained therapists were selected randomly. Three of them were male and two female. The same questionnaire was used to interview each therapist. Each interview took around 30 minutes. Two ayurvedic practitioners working in the Vedic Village are husband–wife and interviewed individually with the same questionnaire used for interviewing ayurvedic therapists. Interviews with ayurvedic practitioners took longer than therapists, approximately 45 minutes for each interview. All the interviews were recorded through voice recorder and prior verbal consent was taken before recording interviews. Apart from this a total of 15 clients at the Vedic Village were interviewed with a different set of questions. Eight of the clients were female and seven male. Clients were selected randomly. Each interview took approximately 30-40 minutes depending on the individual client. Two Indian clients had monthly incomes of INR 30,000; another four had incomes of INR 50,000; three more earned INR 100,000; and another, INR 20,000. Of overseas clients, two had monthly incomes of INR 45,000 (US$ 1000); one, INR 44,000 (US$ 965); one, INR 81,000 (US$ 1775); and one, INR 100,000. Two of the overseas clients had University-level educations, one had post-graduate education, and two were then post-graduate students. Among the Indians, seven had bachelor’s degrees, two had Master’s degrees, and one had higher secondary education. In the Indian context, such Indian clients are considered as belonging to the upper-middle class. Out of the five interviewed clients from abroad, two were from the USA, one from the UK, one from the United Arab Emirates, and one from Spain.


Ayurveda is the systematisation of the Vedic medical knowledge and healing practices that were present during the Vedic era. The word ayurveda consists of two Sanskrit terms: ‘veda’ means ‘knowledge’ or ‘science’, while ‘ayu’, means ‘life’ or ‘duration of life’. Ayurveda thus refers to the knowledge of life or the science of life. Ayurveda defines ayu, or life, as a combination and coordination of four parts: atta (the soul), mona (the mind), indrio (the senses) and sharer (the body) (Joshi, 1997). Each of these parts has a specific function in maintaining the balance of the body (Joshi, 1997, p. 15). Whenever there is a disconnection among these four elements an immediate physical, mental or spiritual imbalance arises.

The two most famous classical ayurvedic epics, the Caraka Samhita and the Susruta Samhita, were written in Sanskrit and are part of the Brahmanic tradition. According to ayurvedic thought, the human being is a creation of panchamabhuta (five cosmic elements: space, air, fire, water and earth) and atta (soul; Susruta, sutro sthnas, chapter 1, paragraph 18) (3). Another powerful conceptual tool in ayurveda is that of the three dosha (humours). The five elements of panchamabhuta have different impacts on dosha because of their changing natures according to time and season (Joshi, 1997, pp. 8-9). According to the Caraka Samhita, ‘all the physiological diseases are originated and caused by the alteration of bayu-pitto-koph (air, bile and phlegm) or the functional capacity of dosha’ (Caraka, sutro sthna, chapter 1). As a result, if the equilibrium of the dosha is maintained, disease cannot occur in the body. It is mentioned in the Susruta Samhita that ayurveda has two purposes: firstly, to cure patients; and secondly, to maintain the health of healthy persons. The text also recognizes that the body and the mind are the two complementary constituents of a living being and the sources of disease: some diseases emerge from the body, others from the mind, and a few are both from the body and mind (Susruta, sutro sthna, chapter 1, paragraph 20).


Edward Said argued that orientalism is a mirror for looking at the Orient and/or to enter ‘oriental society’ for Occidentals. Said perceived orientalism as an ideological category rather than a geographical one; for him, orientalism expresses a ‘mode of discourse with supporting institutions, vocabulary, scholarship, imagery, doctrines, even colonial bureaucracies and colonial styles’ (Said, 1987, p. 2). Under the shadow of orientalism, the West not only dominated the Orient but also restructured and claimed authority over the Orient. The relationship between Occident and Orient is one of power domination and complex hegemony. (Said, 1987, pp. 2-3).

India was constructed by the orientalist ‘as the domain of spirituality’, although ‘inferior to the real sacrament, Christianity’ (Prashad, 2000, p. 42). It was also the favorite ‘Object of Western fantasy’ and of the ‘German Romantics’, who considered India to be an abode of Spirit (Lopez, 1998, p. 6). One of the popular manifestations of such European romance about India is the attempt to find the answer to occidentals’ own perceived lacks ‘through a process of projection’ (Lopez, 1998). However, the situation became reversed as European colonial interest accelerated, and ‘Indian colonial rule was justified by the argument that the British were an enlightened and rational race of rulers who had to lead and develop the Indian people, steeped as they were in ancient prejudices’ (Veer, 1998, p. 483).

The orientalist ‘play of opposites’, as noted by Lopez (1998), has been found throughout the history of Europe’s relation to India. This opposition, as concerns ayurveda, has shifted several times during the colonial and postcolonial eras. During the early phase of the East India Company regime, many company officials consulted ayurvedic practitioners, in addition to European doctors, who also served as consultants to members of the Indian elite (Jeffery, 1988, pp. 50-51). At the same time, the Court of Directors in London encouraged its employees to investigate the value of local Indian ayurvedic medicine and medical texts (Jeffery, 1988, p. 51). Later, colonial expansion and Western medical intervention during the nineteenth century did not simply determine the rise of allopathic medicine or an ideology of imperial control. Rather, they showed how each ‘played off the other within the unfolding of a particular historical process’ (Comaroff & Comaroff, 1992, p. 216). As it was uneconomical to import medical professionals trained in Western medicine from Europe to provide health care in India, the colonial administration founded the School of Native Doctors in Kolkata in 1822, where lectures were given on modern (allopathic) medical subjects side by side with ayurveda (Jaggi, 1979). This illustrates a sympathetic attitude and tolerance of the colonial administration to a synthesis of ayurveda and Western medicine in India.

This situation however, was reversed after the foundation of Calcutta Medical College in 1835, by which time colonial rule was already rooted strongly in Indian soil. This was a pioneer Western medical educational institution in India. Several other colleges and schools were opened for teaching Western allopathic medicine by the second half of the nineteenth century (Jaggi, 1979, p. 11). Thus, nineteenth century Western medical intervention and the colonizing project were inseparable in many senses, and the interrelation between them was dialectical. Although the imperial establishment and biomedical intervention did not engage in the same reciprocal relationship in some parts of the European colonial regime, there was a clear ‘elective affinity’ (Comaroff & Comaroff, 1992, p. 232). By the second half of the nineteenth century, however, ayurveda was clearly opposed by Western medical practice in India. The predominant Hindu community was depicted as superstitious and sometimes religiously extremist. As ayurveda was inseparable from the Hindu community in India it was thus stigmatised as a form of religious healing. Ayurvedic education was then shifted to Sanskrit colleges, and practitioners trained in ayurveda were not allowed to practice as registered medical practitioners.

Western medical intervention in India was a ‘colonizing process’ which ‘illustrate[d] the more general nature of colonial power and knowledge and [illuminated] its hegemonic as well as its coercive processes’ (Arnold, 1993, p. 8). Colonialism was not a one-way project in which colonizers imposed their mission upon colonized; nor was it a two-sided affair in which the colonized had some influences on the way the colonizers acted. Rather, it was a ‘complex business’, and the colonizing mission underwent a continuous reconstructing process, which Comaroff and Comaroff (1992, pp. 232–293) called ‘the colonization of consciousness and the consciousness of colonization’.

Such complex business of colonial hegemony or coercion contributed another phase of orientalist play about ayurveda: at the beginning of the twentieth century ayurvedic education was separated from the Sanskrit colleges and many independent new ayurvedic teaching institutions were established in various parts of British India by the emerging Indian nationalist elite. The British administration was tolerant of this, however, not because of its flexibility but because most of the newly-founded ayurvedic training institutions adopted integrated educational curricula, whereby some courses from the allopathic medical sciences were taught side by side with ayurvedic courses. The notions of integrating indigenous medical systems with mainstream bio-medicine especially in a medical pluralist society may also conceal various forms of ‘social inequality’ and ‘cultural divides’ (Broom, Doron, & Tovey, 2009, p. 698). There are ‘epistemological tensions between bio-medicine and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)’ and the process of integration devalues indigenous medical knowledge because of the unequal ‘power relations’ (Hollenberg & Muzzin, 2010, pp. 35-37). The ‘paradigm appropriation and assimilation’ process under integrated medical practice which is dominated by the bio-medical practitioners disregards ‘CAM theoretical paradigms’, ‘devalues CAM knowledge’, and cannot ‘holistically understand CAM paradigms’ (Hollenberg & Muzzin, 2010, p. 52). In this sense medical integration is a new form of marginalization of indigenous or complementary or alternative medicine by biomedicine.

In India, the trend of integration could prolong the hegemonic presence of colonial medicine beside ayurveda; and in fact this eventually led to a gradual decline of ayurveda. By the end of the nineteenth century ayurvedic practitioners had already widely recognized that, in order to combat the increasingly widespread European medical intervention, it would be necessary to adopt ‘certain forms of European institutional practice’ (Langford, 2002, p. 7; Leslie, 1976). It was thus not uncommon to find Western medicine practiced by the ayurvedic graduates in the later period of colonial rule, as a result of their integrated education backgrounds and many modern ayurvedic graduates are able to practice medicine from an allopathic perspective and dispense allopathic drugs (Welch, 2008, p. 130).

The final phase of orientalist play has emerged during the post-colonial revival era, when India was presented in the context of a ‘generalized Orient’ but one in which the beautiful mystery of India has been used in a variety of ways in the US (Prashad, 2000, p. 21). The emerging rise and growth of ayurvedic ‘wellness and spa culture’ in the West (Euro-America), and also in the East (India), in recent decades is relevant to the analysis of ‘Orientalism’. This trend can be described as ‘New Age Orientalism’, under the influence of which the term ‘ayurveda’ has become a brand name in the West, where marketing strategy targets middle class Western health consumers (Selby, 2005). Vedic Village is a representative of such development–the objective is to recreate a simplicity of lifestyle under the ‘Vedic’ brand. To enable individuals to experience holistic living, the Vedic Village offer a comprehensive ayurvedic medication program under its wellness plan.


New age orientalism is a recent tendency in ‘American romanticism to idealize the East and to critique the West’ that has become a ‘source of new stereotypes of the East’ (Reddy, 2004, p. 217). Let me spell out the difference I find between orientalism and new age orientalism with reference to ayurveda. If orientalism is about ‘superiority’ (West/East or Occident/Orient), new age orientalism is about ‘authority’. Under nineteenth-century European orientalism, ayurveda was presented as an Eastern healing practice with an unscientific basis and practiced by apprentices called kabirajes. Such representation clearly illustrated the inferior position of ayurveda to that of Western allopathic medicine, which was claimed to have scientific grounding and validity. Particularly during the later colonial era, Western medicine claimed its superiority over Eastern medicine, and was introduced into India as a ‘colonizing process’ that eventually became a monopoly in the state health care service. The ‘play of opposites’ under orientalist discourse was thus ‘disputive’, and practitioners of ayurveda strongly opposed and tried to resist this monopolization of Western medicine by the state. However, ‘the West’, or the colonial administration, scarcely tried to gain authority over ayurvedic practices until the early twentieth century.

New age orientalism, in contrast, is about ‘authority’, where the ‘play of opposites’ is complementary rather than disputative. Ayurveda has been regarded as alternative medicine, holistic medicine, indigenous medicine, complementary medicine, etc., and dissimilar to Western medicine. All these idioms have ensured that the ‘authority’ of the Western medical system over the Eastern medical systems is in place but is not in dispute. However, both orientalism and new age orientalism symbolize the romanticizing of the East by the West.

There are various distinctive features of new age orientalism in reference to ayurveda. Firstly, new age orientalism emerged as part of the New Age Movement to cater the need of the urban middle class in the West, and has gradually shifted to the East and became popular among emerging middle class entrepreneurs–those having disposable income. Vedic Village is an example of this, as both affluent Indian entrepreneurs and overseas health tourists head there to find relaxation and rejuvenation and to revitalise body–mind–sprit. As one health worker commented,

   Two kinds of peoples generally visit Vedic
   Village health spa. A large group of peoples
   come for relaxation and rejuvenation. They
   are very much concerned about cost of therapy,
   duration of therapeutic session and satisfaction.
   This group of clients are particularly
   demanding about their satisfaction during we
   provide therapies. They also contributed a
   large share of our income. However, a minority
   group of clients also come for truly medical
   reason. They are reluctant about the cost
   of treatment or time but desperate to get a
   cure from ayurvedic or alternative treatment
   which they did not get from allopathic

Over the last few decades, the New Age Movement has emerged from a crisis of modernity, which has created a new desire for healthy life among some modern people who have come to perceive modernity as, indeed, in crisis. Such people are dissatisfied with modernity and have lost faith in the certainties of capitalism. The New Age Movement has offered an alternative way to look at life, particularly for middle- or upper-class people in capitalist society whose lives are not working well (Heelas, 1996, p. 138). Capitalism has significantly damaged the social concern of individuals for their fellows, and some have started to search for spiritual forces to rescue themselves from the ‘slough of despondence and sensuality in which civilization seems to be perishing’ (Prashad, 2000, p. 45). Spiritualism from the East has thus become an alternative and lucrative choice for this group of people to rescue themselves from alienation (Prashad, 2000, p. 45). In the health field, such people criticise the mainstream capitalist medical establishment, and especially allopathic dominance in health care. They are especially dissatisfied with the isolation of Western medical practice from the decision-making process, so that they attempt to dip into ‘spirituality’ in alternative healing (Heelas, 1996, p. 141). One foreign health tourist recalled her experience at Vedic Village. Marita, (4) from the USA, visited Vedic Village for her broken bone. She subscribed to an ayurvedic package treatment. Marita commented:

   In 2004, my foot was crushed, with a broken
   bone. During the treatment in the US,
   I was informed that the nerve of my leg was
   damaged. It is called complex regional pain
   syndrome. I took physical therapy for seven
   months but it did not really work well. Finally
   I switched to surgery. After the surgery my
   leg became very painful and turned a blue
   colour. I was fascinated about Asia and classical
   ancient cultures of Asia and medicines.
   There are many sensitivity centres or energy
   activity centres in NY called Shakra. Before I
   came here, I did research on the internet and
   knew about ayurveda. But lots of things here
   depend on faith, because I am delivering my
   body to the therapist. I know about the Vedic
   Village from my friend who suggested me to
   come here. Her health improved tremendously
   after the treatment she received here. I feel very
   good after taking this ayurvedic treatment. I
   improved so much. My digestion and walking
   also improved a lot. I have good times and bad
   times. I had headache, indigestion problems,
   but overall I feel better. I came in India for
   ayurvedic therapy only because I can't afford
   the ayurvedic therapy in New York. I can also
   get the relevant food related to my therapy
   which I can't get in NY.

Secondly, commodification and commercialization of the East for the Western consumer, and recently for the Eastern consumer, is a popular feature of new age orientalism. ‘Wellness and spa culture’, which is a relatively new phenomenon in modern Indian society, is a good example of how ‘Eastern remedies’ are commodified for consumers in India and overseas. This ‘culture’ involves the emergence of health tourist resorts, which provide alternative medical and health services, in India and elsewhere. For the months of January, April and July of 2005, 73% of the clients visited Vedic Village for ayurvedic therapy, 17% went for massages and relaxation services, and only 10% of the total number of clients consulted an ayurvedic physician (5). The primary aim in visiting the Vedic Village is for relaxation and stress reduction. The Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recognized the potential of ayurvedic tourism in the National Policy on Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy–2002, which stated that ‘facilities for panchakarma and yoga would be encouraged to be offered in hotels. Indian System of Medicine parks would be developed in collaboration with state tourism authorities’ (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, 2002, article, 16.17). This growing interest in indigenous medicine has inspired Indian indigenous drug manufacturers, ‘who see in this a massive export potential’ (Banerjee, 2000). A massive growth of ayurvedic resorts, spas and vacation housing under private initiative is also a significant trend. Many resorts are located at beaches and carry out aggressive marketing campaigns to attract international health tourists. Most visitors coming for alternative healing take part in wellness and spa activities, favouring ayurveda for rejuvenation purposes. Most are Indians from the upper middle class, tourists from Western countries, or wealthy and affluent Indians living overseas. Many of the wellness packages are targeted at professional middle and upper class clients who have sufficient disposable income to engage in such consumption.

Statistics from the month of January, April and July 2005 show that about 90% of the total income of the Vedic Village wellness centre is generated from ayurvedic therapies, 6% of the income from massages, and only 4% of the income from doctor’s consultations (6). This is a clear indication that ayurveda is closely associated with ‘relaxation therapy’ and less with medical treatment options. Thus the response for wellness services has been overwhelming. There has been a consciousness in the number of people, both local and overseas visitors, visiting and using the various wellness facilities in the Vedic Village.

One local visitor described his experience in the Vedic Village thus:

   I don't have any idea about ayurvedic treatment.
   I joined the program for my weight
   loss after seeing the advertisement where they
   advocated that the therapy they are providing
   is ayurvedic. I have never experienced any
   ayurvedic treatment. I still don't know much
   about ayurveda and even I don't know anything
   outside my celluloid weight loss therapy.
   Before visiting Vedic Village, I took some
   Kerala massage to reduce pain. They told me to
   take some health package but I couldn't take it
   due to my business. So I only can give time for
   1 hour on Sunday and even sometimes I can't
   come on Sunday because of emergency. I saw
   the advertisements of the Vedic Village and its
   activities in newspapers and on television and
   finally decided to come here.

The third popular feature of new age orientalism is the increased feminization and naturalization of ayurveda. Classical ayurvedic texts mention ayurvedic treatments as contributing to the health of kings and court leaders, soldiers, and male members of upper castes (Dunn, 1976). The representation of ‘female’, as depicted in the ayurvedic discourse of the early medieval period, was a gendered one, and ‘women were marginalized, if not altogether excluded’ (Shah, 2006, p. 45). Women’s sexuality in the ayurvedic texts has been discussed in the context of the uterus and genital tract, as a healthy uterus was crucial for child-birth and the child’s inheritance was considered to come from the male line (Shah, 2006, p. 45). The man with many sons/children was complimented in the universe as a bearer of goodness, benevolence, success, and power, while no compliment was given to women for their child-rearing (Caraka, Chikitsha sthna, chapter 2, paragraph 3). Such depiction of the female body framed within ayurvedic male-dominated discourse presented women’s health concerns as secondary, only significant for satisfying men’s needs. The four goals of human life mentioned in the Caraka Samhita text, which provide a context for moral life–namely; dharma (ideals), artha (money or material accumulation), kam (pleasure, excitement, sex), and mokthi (liberation)–are solely men’s concern. Women are excluded from achieving such goals. Women’s duties, as described in the above texts, are mainly two–to give birth to a child for a man and to act as a sexual partner for man’s enjoyment. Medical treatment for a woman was meant to keep her fit to perform these two functions (Kelkar, 2009).

However, proponents of the Euro-American New Age have transformed early ayurvedic ideas about women’s health into an essential segment of the modern wellness industry, and medicine is transformed into wellness (Selby, 2005, p. 120). The beauty of women has become a prime consumer target for the recent development of wellness and spa culture, and middle class professionals are the clients buying alternative health service packages provided by the wellness centres. Beauty has become an exclusive ayurvedic commodity, particularly for middle class elite women, who spend a large amount of their incomes for body–beauty care–and in Vedic village, there were more female than male clients. From January, April and July 2005 statistics, it is shown that a total of 321 female clients visited Vedic village wellness center, while the number of male clients was 2487. Most of the female clients received therapy for back pain or weight loss, or got facial massages. Their main concern was to undergo ‘natural’ treatment with minimum side-effects. Many who visit the Vedic Village went as couples, but sometimes women visited on their own or with other women.

Today, a trend of wealthy women routinely visiting health tourist destinations and spas, and indulging in massages and natural herbal health services, is emerging in India. This increase in women’s visits has also affected the consumption of ayurvedic products and services for wellness and beauty purposes. Ayurveda was traditionally male dominated in terms of its mythological origin and historical development. Increasing female involvement reflects a growth of Ayurevedic products and services in recent years providing a clear indication of feminization bought about by corporations such as Vedic Village. As noted earlier the development of the ayurvedic wellness and spa industry in India promotes ayurvedic products and services as an integral part of the process of the new age orientalization where ayurveda has been presented as wellness therapy for rejuvenation or beauty instead of a complete way of life to restore health. Under this effort, the importance of women’s reproductive health discussed in classical ayurvedic texts has been replaced by the ‘beauty paradigm’, and natural beauty, which can be achieved through using ayurvedic products and services, has become an important part of Indian femininity.

Questioning enlightenment values of the West and celebrating the East are other popular characteristics of new age orientalism (Reddy, 2004). If the Enlightenment values of the West were promoted by the discourse of modernity, new age orientalist values are inspired by a post-modern discourse. Under these new values, the orientalist discourse of ayurveda has been ‘deconstructed’ and is no longer in dispute with conventional Western medicine.

The ‘Vedic’ daily routine promoted by the Vedic Village is an example of how the Vedic idea of dinacharya (daily regimen), which is prescribed in the ayurvedic text Ashtangahridaya, written by Maharshi Bagbhat, has been celebrated as the glory of Eastern ayurvedic medicine. The text prescribes various rules and regulations leading to a healthy life, on a daily basis. However, the dinacharya described in the text is far from the dinacharya promoted by the Vedic Village. For example, to obtain wellness of the body–mind–sprit, the ayurvedic routine in the Vedic Village includes the process of cleansing/purification, correction, dietary change, and behavioral motivation. In the text are regulations pertaining to physical motivation, purification and postures for sleeping and waking hours; and for personal hygiene, physical exercise, and dietary intake. However, it also prescribes acceptable behaviour and moral and social values that individuals should uphold (Ashtangahridaya, sutra sthna, chapter 2). Many of these values are closely related to the Hindu/Buddhist teachings of morality.

In the Vedic Village, the dinacharya regimen consists of several sessions, starting with the Brahma muhurta. A photo of the Hindu god hangs on the wall of a small therapeutic room in the Vedic Village, in front of which clients pray. After the prayer, vaktra shuddhi, or oral hygiene, begins–a neem twig is crushed at one end and used as a toothbrush, with herbal tooth powder, the entire process being called dantadhavana. Afterwards, clients take a sunrise walk and assemble at the Yoga Hall for a Yoga session. Although Yoga is a different medical practice having its own principles and philosophy, because of its recent popularity among the middle class, Yoga has been incorporated and promoted under the ayurvedic dinacharya program–although there is no mention of Yoga in the dinacharya (daily regimen) described in the Ashtangahridaya text. This is followed by abhyangam shirodhara, a traditional oil massage therapy from the Indian state of Kerala is given. It should be noted here that the ayurvedic text Ashtangahridaya suggests to massage oil on the body gently at least once a day, or every second day (Ashtangahridaya, sutra sthna, chapter 2, paragraph 8-9). However, the Vedic Village dinacharya program presents such practice as oil massages therapy in a manner that hinders an understanding of the true meaning of ayurvedic oil massage (8). The entire Dinacharya package offered by the Vedic Village symbolizes how ayurveda has been contaminated as a result of its new age orientalist celebration.

Last but not least, new age orientalism is rooted in the process of the presentation of ayurveda as holistic healing and consumption of spirituality. While European orientalism has presented the East as uncivilized, barbaric or savage, American orientalism perceived the East as a domain of spirituality (Reddy, 2004). Modern spiritualism, which originated in the eighteenth century in an orientalist-romanticist fashion, has become a ‘wellbeing’ culture today. In this new culture people consume spirituality as part of an extension of capitalism (Heelas, 2008). Ideologically the concept of wellness requires a lifestyle change, which combines physical activity with relaxation of the mind and intellectual stimulus–basically a kind of fitness of body, mind, and spirit (Schobersberger, Greie, & Humpeler, 2004, pp. 199-200). There are two major aspects of this concept of wellness, the physical aspect and the spiritual aspect. The physical aspect emphasizes exercise or fitness, dietary practice, and behavioural motivation–what is called ‘lifestyle change’, or rectification (shonsodhon) in ayurveda. The spiritual element of wellness consists of purification and revitalization of mind and soul.

The key Vedic Village practices in its wellness program are based on the Susruta Samhita chapters on ritucharya (seasonal practices). According to the text there are six seasons (ritu): winter, spring, summer, rainy, autumn and dewy. The six seasons each bring different natural and environmental conditions, which influence the functioning of the human body, mind and humor (bayu-pitto-koph–air, bile and phlegm; Susruta, sutro sthna, chapter 6). As a result, the human body experiences different conditions and develops various adaptive mechanisms to maintain its balance with the natural environment. Vedic Village provides lessons on ritucharya (seasonal practices) for their clients, which primarily demand a lifestyle change. For example, the text outlines that, during rainy, autumn and dewy seasons, the moon (which is considered a god) becomes stronger. During these seasons, salt, food, and honey are produced in abundance and all living species become stronger. On the other hand, during winter, spring and summer, the sun (also a god) becomes stronger, bitter humors in nature increase and all living species become weaker. Living species have to take necessary action in order to adapt to the different environmental conditions. However, out of 15 clients interviewed, 11 engaged in ayurvedic therapies for relaxation and rejuvenation, and were not aware of how seasonal practices affect their state of health. None of them were living permanently on the village campus which is full of duplex villas with all modern amenities to cater to the modern upper middle class lifestyle. Vedic texts have thus been romanticised, and particular concepts have been manipulated to cater to the needs of New Age health desire.

Another development is that ayurveda has been promoted as holistic healing and equated with many other massage therapies without any distinction. For example, the Sanjeeva Spa treatment, the Kerala Ayurvedic Therapy, the Onehour Wellness Therapy, and a one-day Sanjeeva healing package called the Sanjeeva Glow one-day package are all offered under ‘holistic healing’, and clients often misunderstand all these services as ayurvedic. Furthermore, three out of the five practitioners working at Vedic Village hold the title of ‘holistic doctor’, although they graduated in BHMS (Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery) and hold that degree.

With clever marketing in media, the Vedic Village has begun to gain a reputation both at home and overseas as a reputed ayurvedic wellness provider, which provides holistic therapeutic treatments in a safe natural environment. Such a reputation has led to a steady stream of foreign visitors to the Vedic Village for alternative treatments and lifestyle experiences. As the findings have shown, local visitors to the Vedic Village are mostly Indian middle class professionals or wealthy business persons who come for relaxation therapy. Their main objective is to rejuvenate themselves and/or to relieve stress. The majority of the Indian visitors do not consider Vedic Village as a place for ayurvedic medical treatment but one for massage therapy spa treatments for rejuvenation and removing stress.


This paper has shown that ‘ayurvedic wellness and spa culture’ has become popular in recent decades, for several reasons. Firstly, ‘ayurvedic wellness and spa culture’ has become popular in the West to cater to middle-class consumers in search of treatments for health rejuvenation and relaxation. As part of the New Age Movement in the West, a commodified version of ayurveda has been popularized as an alternative remedy to satisfy middle class health consumers. As a result of globalization, this has also attracted middle class professionals and entrepreneurs in India who do not consider ayurveda as their primary mode of treatment. For entrepreneurs, the ayurvedic health tourism and wellness industry is a way to make money. Likewise, for the Indian government, the creation of health and wellness tourism brings much-needed foreign currency into the Indian economy. Such a practice of commercialized ayurveda symbolizes the self-aggrandizement of the new age orientalist desire. Vedic Village, as representative of this development, makes use of two aspects of ayurveda: ‘ayurveda’ an alternative healing for rejuvenation, and as an attractive New Age health product.

Secondly, the ayurvedic texts Susruta Samhita and Ashtangahridaya contain chapters on dinacharya (daily regimen) and ritucharya (seasonal practices), etc., which Vedic Village is promoting problematically in their own commercialized versions. Although a large number of consumers today consume ayurveda as wellness therapy, rejuvenation therapy, health products and dietary supplements, quite a few of them look for ayurvedic treatment as their primary mode of healing (Banerjee, 2000). Thus the content of ayurveda has become a matter of consumer products. Consumerism is thus already rooted in the ‘ayurvedic wellness and spa culture’, and ayurveda takes the form of a commodity rather than as a means of restoring health. This commodified version of ayurveda that has, so far, been developed in the West under ‘wellness and spa culture’ has become popular among the affluent middle-class in India and abroad today, and through it the West continues to claim, and to justify, its authority over Eastern medicine. This is a process that has developed as much as the process of professionalization of ayurveda did at the beginning of the twentieth century, under colonial rule. The post-colonial state then restructured traditions instead of reviving traditional ayurvedic education, training and apprenticeship. At the dawn of the twenty-first Century, ayurvedic ‘wellness and spa culture’ has created a new identity for ayurveda, and ayurveda has been regarded as wellness therapy. Affluent Indians now begin to know of ayurveda not as their ancient medical system, but as relaxation and rejuvenation therapy. An Indian female visitor recalled her experience in the Vedic Village. Aporna Shen (9), a 36-year-old Indian attorney, visited Vedic Village for a facial massage. She went there with her police-officer husband, although her husband did not take any massage therapy. Aporna commented that:

   I don't know too much about the Vedic way of
   life or the way Vedic Village is functioning. Our
   new generation really does not know that much
   about this. I would consider the medication I
   am taking as a therapy. It is absolutely great for
   reducing stress. I am taking this therapy to relax
   myself. I am a lawyer and my job is full of tensions
   and meeting different deadlines. In addition,
   I have a two-year-old son who also keeps
   me busy. Vedic village is an ideal place for relaxation
   and to get away from city life. The Vedic
   village complex is absolutely beautiful. There
   are also spa treatments available in Kolkata but
   this is really exceptional.


I acknowledge my PhD supervisor Dr. K.E. Kuah-Pearce from the University of Hong Kong and C.M. Pradyumna from the Vedic Village, Kolkata for their intellectual help and generous support to conduct this study.

Received 07 February 2011

Accepted 15 December 2011


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United International College, Beijing Normal University–Hong Kong Baptist University, Zhuhai, Hong Kong SAR, PR China

(1) The idea of ‘new age orientalism’ is used by Vijoy Prashad and Donald S. Lopez.

(2) Verbal consent from the interviewee was taken before conducting and recording any interview in order to ensure standard ethical practice.

(3) The Susruta Samhita text is divided into several sections, such as sutro sthna, nidan sthna, etc.

(4) Original name has not been used.

(5) Client register notebook from the Vedic Village wellness centre in August 2005.

(6) Monthly statistical maintenance book from the Vedic Village for August 2005 (un published and maintained by the Director).

(7) These statistics were collected from the client register notebook at the Vedic Village wellness centre in August 2005.

(8) The author has personal experience of some parts of the dinacharya program. A detailed description of the dinacharya daily regime program is mentioned in the Vedic Village flyer.

(9) Original name has not been used.

Source Citation   (MLA 7th Edition)

Islam, Nazrul. “New age orientalism: ayurvedic ‘wellness and spa culture’.” Health Sociology Review 21.2 (2012): 220+. Health Reference Center Academic. Web. 29 Dec. 2015.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A298172571

Energy healing for wellness


Biofield therapy, otherwise known as energy healing, is a domain of complementary and alternative medicine that includes therapies such as Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch, and Qigong. Biofield therapies work to smooth out imbalances in the person’s energy field and direct healing energy to enhance general health and wellness, or to treat a particular dysfunction through modifying the energy field (Maville et al., 2008; Anderson & Taylor, 2011).  Biofield therapies work with the  client’s energy field, the energy that is considered to be chi, qi, ki, and prana from different theoretical and cultural standpoints, such as ayurveda and Chinese medicine (Mills & Jain, 2010).  Any changes in the energy field results in apparent physiological and psychological changes, as demonstrated in various research studies. Biofield therapies are believed to increase the wellness of the practitioner and those receiving the services by focussing on healing and creating harmony within the mind, body, and spirit connection. Each of these techniques have notable similarities as well as distinctly unique differences, but in this research paper we will be focussing on the benefits of energy healing. As part of the human experience we seek opportunities to find things that make us feel good and experience wholeness, this is imbued in the practice of energy healing, as evident by its ability to enhance one’s overall health. There are great benefits from energy healing and it is meant for everyone, especially for those who are stricken with stress induced disease, to provide a therapeutic relaxation remedy to help alleviate stress, pain, and suffering (Tang, et al., 2010). Biofield therapies are among the most ancient of healing practices, whilst energy healing has a rich history serving humanity for many ages only recently have research studies been conducted to attempt to show the many benefits this practice has to offer. Scientific quantification of the methods, mechanisms, safety, and effectiveness of biofield therapies are still limited (Anderson & Taylor, 2011).  Research done over past decades help to unmask the various forms of energy healing that are available, with many emphasizing the impact of energy healing in the hospital, and how it has influenced patients and healthcare workers (Anderson & Taylor, 2011; Tang et al., 2010).  Furthermore, psychoneuroimmunology is prevalent in various research studies; it is apparent the relaxation benefits of energy healing to alleviate symptoms of pain and expedite healing, thus to contribute to greater wellbeing (Mills & Jain, 2010). Throughout this paper I will provide critical review of recent studies on the effects of energy healing on people’s wellbeing, and the implications of energy healing in our society. I give a brief background of my experience with energy healing. I conclude with a discussion, in my perspective, the need for energy healing in diverse populations as it holds the key to bring peace and healing to people’s lives.

First, wellness defined. The UOI Wellness Center’s (2015) Charles Corbin defines wellness as “a multidimensional state of being; it describes the existence of positive health, exemplified by quality of life and a sense of well-being.” Another definition provided by The National Wellness Institute (2015), “Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices towards, a more successful existence.”  Our lives are more than what we feel with our physical bodies. “We are spiritual beings living a human experience” as eloquently penned by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. In essence we are a sum total of all the parts that make us whole. Therefore, each choice we make affects our wellness and alters the balance of our entire being. There are seven dimensions that make us whole, these include: emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual, as described by UOI Wellness Center (2015). Once we bring these dimensions into balance, we can experience wellness. Other researchers have found that the integration of four aspects of ourselves brings on wellness. These are spirituality, physical status, cognitive and emotional processes, and environments (Cross et al., 2009). In other words, mind, body, and spirit need to be integrated into one for a person to be whole, healthy, and well. When all areas and dimensions of our life are in balance we are said to be healthy. Energy healing is just one way to enhance this integration of all parts of ourselves for increased wellness. Mind, body, and spirit are an entity; people are whole and need to be treated as such. Energy healing allows people to deepen their connection with their bodies, minds, and spirits to understand where the problems arise, which is the basis of psychoneuroimmunology. Energy healing promotes health and disease prevention, and works to heal the whole person. “Alternative healing therapies grew out of a holistic view in which the body, mind, and spirit are conceptualized as integrated and interrelated” (Breda & Schulze, 1998). Western medicine is a temporary fix; surgery and drugs can only attempt to treat a problem in the body, they do not solve the root cause of the problem. Energy healing is integrated into Western medicine to increase the odds of healing. Energy healing goes to the root of the problems people are experiencing (Daruna, 2012).  It is proven in many studies the impact energy healing has on people’s wellness.

In one study, it was demonstrated that Healing Touch assisted in the healing of people recovering from heart surgery. The energy healing worked to alleviate the symptoms of pain, improve sleep, and reduce levels of cortisol for increased ability to heal the body after surgery (MacIntyre et al., 2008).  There is a clear link between elevated cortisol levels from stress, circadian rhythm disruption, and our immune function (Cooke, 2012). Stress hormones impair the immune system and negatively influences the patient’s ability to heal. With energy healing, the patient/client’s natural ability to heal is reinvigorated, energy flows smoother, and potential blocks to self-healing are eliminated. Energy healing practices are relaxing and a reduction in stress hormones and an increase in feel-good hormones are experienced (Daruna, 2012). With improvements in the immune system, patients can experience relaxation, less pain, and faster recovery, all signs of increased wellness. With energy healing, patients may directly experience the benefit of intention that comes from an energy healing practice.  

Energy healing methods are growing in popularity, in high demand by a variety of patients, and widely used throughout hospitals. Medical colleges are teaching complementary healing therapies to nurses; for alternative approaches meet a need Western medicine is unable to satisfy (Breda & Schulze, 1998; Tang, 2010). Energy healing is integrated into the current healthcare system to enhance the healing abilities of clients (Stöckigt et al., 2015; Mills & Jain, 2010). There are health care organizations that have discovered the benefits of touch therapy on the lives of both the patients and providers (Gilberti, 2004). Energy healing creates a special connection and therapeutic relationship between health care provider and recipient.

In one study, the therapeutic relationship between the healer and client was investigated. An interview method was used as a means to discover the motives of the patient to seek out biofield therapies, also to get the details of the healing process and the patients’ perceptions of the results of the healing process (Stöckigt et al., 2015). The healer/patient relationship involves a unique sort of contact where the healer acts as role model and provides spiritual support during challenging healing processes. It was found that the therapeutic relationship between healer and client is a very special one, based on mutual respect, trust, and appreciation (Stöckigt et al., 2015). Emotions, visions, and spiritual experiences are freely shared; thus it is important for the clients to be willing to open up for this special connection to take place. Overall, energy healing benefits practitioners, clients, and those in the health care services and it can be practiced in addition to other health care programs, for clients and workers alike, to preserve their health and keep it in good standing while healing from deeper issues.

In a recent research study, nurses were trained in energy healing medicine (Raingruber & Robinson, 2007). The nurses felt the amazing benefits from the energy healing practices; they could tolerate their jobs much more, and it enhanced their problem-solving abilities (Raingruber & Robinson, 2007). Nurses found solitude, better health, and healing by practicing Reiki, Yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation; so they became more grounded and better at performing their jobs as nurses. Energy healing is used as a means for self-care, which gave the nurses a tool for enhanced wellness. The study allowed the nurses to become higher functioning nurses at the hospital; experiencing positive physical sensations and enhanced mental clarity (Raingruber & Robinson, 2007). It made work more enjoyable, with a reduction in work related stress/burnout, and enhanced clinical problem-solving skills (Raingruber & Robinson, 2007). By creating a sense of relaxation in their own life, they became more aware and conscious of the subtle energetic cues from their patients (Raingruber & Robinson, 2007). In another study, healing touch was given to patients with osteoarthritic pain over 6 week period, an experimental and control group were compared and it was found that healing touch did alleviate pain in a short amount of time (Lu, et al., 2013).

In a study on biofield therapies and psychoneuroimmunology, two groups of cancer patients were compared, those who received energy healing showed positive changes and increased wellness. Energy healing displayed healing effects on patients lives; it may work by ‘placebo’ or having intention and positive expectations, but there are noticeable differences between the experimental group and control group(Mills & Jain, 2010). The researchers found a gap in the research, that most studies found the effects energy healing had on reducing acute pain intensity in cancer,  evidence in reduction of fatigue,  and enhanced quality of life (MIlls & Jain, 2010). The researchers also found that there is a link between depression, inflammation, and progression of cancer (Mills & Jain, 2010). Biofield therapies may reduce the amount of inflammation and depression to aid in the recovery of cancer. More studies need to be done on the psychoneuroimmunological mechanisms that drive healing responses, for everyone to have a better understanding of these energetic influences on the body, mind, spirit (Mills & Jain, 2010).

Biofield therapies or energy healing promotes relaxation through centering and grounding; this can have positive implications in all areas of one’s’ life. Centering may eliminate distractions, so people may focus on what is important (Garret, et al., 2008). Centering also allows people to clear space for greater present moment awareness. With centering and grounding, the subtle energy of the body can be felt. The energy healing practitioner is well trained in centering and grounding, so they can energetically influence the client to relax.  It is understood that energy healing is engaging life-force energy, otherwise known as prana, chi, and qi; The breath is considered the life-giving force. The body’s life-force energy or spirit moves smoothly throughout the energy pathways during the healing process. The premise behind energy healing is that when energy pathways of the body are blocked or disturbed, a disruption occurs in the person’s holistic harmony, which may result in illness, disease, weakness, imbalance, pain, and psycho-spiritual issues (Fazzino, et al., 2010). With these blocks in the person’s energy, health degrades, thinking is not clear, and suffering happens. Energy healing practices like Reiki, Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, and Spring Forest Qigong can open energy pathways and remove blocked energy (Mary Faulkner, 2012). Energy healing is meant to help nature heal itself, through unblocking, releasing, and rebalancing the person’s energy (Edwards & Edwards, 2015). ‘Laying of hands’ methods of energy healing are essentially all the same or serve the same purpose, but there are currently many types of methods which are described in greater detail next.   

Spring Forest Qigong (SFQ) is a Chinese form of energy healing and in Chinese medicine, which is similar to Ayurveda medicine and other ancient cultures where energy is seen as the basis of medicine (Karin, Cooke, 2012). Master Chunyi Lin created SFQ. He teaches it in a way that is easy to understand and so people can become self-healing, Lin’s vision is “A healer in every family and a world without pain.” (Jane Coleman, 2011). “The active exercise and the meditation aspects of SFQ are effective self-care modalities for persons with perceived chronic physical pain and/or emotional distress” (Coleman, 2011). A study found that with SFQ, there was a significant decrease in the perceived pain of patients with chronic pain (Coleman, 2011). Furthermore, the clients experienced improved sleep, concentration, decision making, and reversal of loss of interest in people experiencing chronic pain (Coleman, 2011). SFQ has shown to increase relaxation in patients, with numerous other health benefits that  increase their well-being. Another form of energy healing is Therapeutic Touch (TT). It is a simple method that can be used by nurses and practitioners to quickly and conveniently perform energy healing.  Healing touch (HT) is a more complex system of energy healing, unique in its own way.

Reiki is a very spiritual form of energy healing. This technique began long ago in Japan and was rediscovered by Dr. Usui in the 60’s and has spread across the world with great intensity (Stein, 1996).  A certified Reiki practitioner performs Reiki once initiated into level 1, 2, or 3, he/she uses hands-on or hands-off in 12 designated places of the body (Raingruber & Robinson 2007).  Reiki is more passive than the other forms of energy healing (Miles, 2015). The Reiki practitioner is trained to channel universal healing energy and light from God, to redistribute stagnant energy, and facilitate the person’s own natural ability to heal (Stein, 1996). Some people practice or receive Reiki to strengthen their wellness, help cope with their symptoms, support or integrate with their medical care for things like chronic illness and end-of-life care.  

All energy healing practices promote healing in patients and are widely used throughout hospitals, rehab centers, hospice care, and assisted living facilities. They provide numerous health benefits such as improved sleep, immune function, increased social interactions, and improved daily functions (McCormack, 2009).  Overall, these techniques may be used for stress reduction and to expedite the healing process. These practices work by centering, setting the intention to help or heal for the clients highest and greatest good, and directing healing energy to the client (McCormack, 2009). Practitioners of energy-based therapies use contact or no contact to influence the human energy field to affect all dimensions of the patient (Fazzino, et al., 2010). Practitioners need not be present with the client for the healing to work because distance healing is effective and always available to them, as is self-healing (Wardell et al., 2014). We each have the ability to move this life force energy, regardless of one’s religion, we can experience it fully (Faulkner, 2012).

Energy healing is rooted in the understanding that we are self-healing. It works with the energy field, affecting the whole person-body, mind, and spirit (Faulkner, 2012). Energy healing is a means to expand one’s’ consciousness; to experience healing, transformation, and spiritual growth; for this enhances the connection to to the universal field of healing energy (Stein, 1996). Those who are healers should be practicing self healing daily, “It is important that Reiki practitioners/healers practice self-Reiki daily; it is vital to personal growth and healing” (Castellano et al., 2014). It is essential or vital because it promotes healing and wellness in both client and practitioner. Healing begins when people take charge of their own health, for this reason, healers must attend to their own healing to be effective healers (Faulkner, 2012).

We are all healers; not one person is more of a healer than another (Karen, Casey, 1996). Energy healing applies to anyone who wants to experience relaxation and to heal on a deeper level.  I consider myself an energy healer once completing all the Reiki levels and some healing touch and therapeutic touch. I also use energy healing and connection to spirit in my work as a practicing herbalist and Yoga teacher.  Energy healing is amazing. It brings me so much joy to be able to step back from life and to simply enjoy being alive. It allows me to realize the simple pleasures in life, such as fresh air, nature, and a sense of stillness to bring overwhelming joy and contentment. I love to experience the relaxing benefits of energy healing and to share this relaxation with others.  It does a mind, body, and spirit good! I enjoy helping people on a deeper level, to aid them in their discovery of their true selves, spirit.  To me, energy healing is the key to wellness that everyone should know about.  It brings back the magic of simply being alive, to find peace and serenity. To enjoy touch, a sense of compassion, and love for all beings everywhere, can make all the difference in the world. I find so much joy in sharing the gift of healing touch and Reiki. I feel the world and its inhabitants suffer on many different levels. Freedom from suffering is the ultimate goal for energy healing. It is my goal to help others become more aware and connected to their spiritual nature, and  ability to heal thy self, for this is the objective of energy healing.  One thought or action towards a more positive state of being gives the most mundane of days real meaning (Casey, 1996). All energy healing serves the same purpose, to create wellness and oneness by enhancing the sense of connection to something greater. A connection and oneness with the Universe, the Creator, the Mother Earth, and all beings everywhere, plus our innate ability to heal ourselves. It is important to know where we are in relation to all things, people, places, and experiences; otherwise we risk the chance of losing a sense of ourselves, our connection to the community, to the natural environment, and to the spiritual world. Every day is an opportunity to focus on the healing energies; to return to wholeness and wellness. More people are practicing and experiencing positive results that energy healing has on wellness, and many more to come. With energy healing the possibilities to create positive change and growth on Earth are infinite.




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Heart Chakra

 The 4 attributes of the heart and what they mean to me. Compassion- the feeling of gratitude for self and others, Innate Harmony- being calm in the midst of chaos, Healing Presence- the feeling of love, gratitude, and appreciation that creates the condition for healing, and Unconditional Love- the mystery that unites all things. 

These concepts are at the very core of spiritual and conscious living. They are the essence of being human. The very reason and mission of life is to experience love. Energy healing isn’t healing without these four components integrated into each session. It’s a healers daily endeavor to act peacefully, calmly, gratefully, lovingly, compassionately, appreciatively, etc. To me, the heart chakra is the most powerful one of all. If anything in my life goes out of balance and any of my chakras are compromised, I become centered and focused on the heart. The heart has healing powers. The heart chakra seems to pull the lower three chakras into balance as well. By living a heart centered life and my mind is calm. Im at ease and have a peaceful or compassionate presence. Bringing my attention to the hearts area, I feel a deepening of love, joy, and bliss. I sense that I am an eternal being of consciousness and bliss. That my intuition comes from the heart, as if the heart is a brain in itself. I feel connected to all other living beings through the heart. I feel more accepting, less judgemental, and more content in my life and the world I live in. I choose to embrace the joy and good in life, and send healing energies to the suffering. I say affirmations and set the intention of living a heart centered life, especially during healing and yoga sessions. I take time out each day to give gratitude for the abundance of love that pours out from my heart and my very being. I color hearts and wear hearts as a reminder that love is the most important aspect of this life. The heart offers so much, compassion, innate harmony, healing presence, and unconditional love for all to enjoy. I feel overwhelmed with love when I focus on the heart.