What is E.F.T.?

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E.F.T. (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a form of mind + body + energy psychotherapy.

Traditional psychotherapy focuses on the mental layer and uses talk therapy primarily. Whereas the E.F.T. approach uses talk therapy while also working on the physical and energetic layers at the same time because an E.F.T. therapist sees them as intrinsically connected. We can access the extra layers of the mind, the physical and energy bodies by working with the acupuncture meridian system.

Acupuncture points are little pools of accumulated energy that are located on the meridians that run throughout the body. The meridians are described like rivers that distribute energy and life force around the body. In Chinese medicine they are called meridians, and in the yoga’s of India, they call them nadi’s.

With E.F.T., we can trigger healing by tapping on the acupuncture points which triggers a flush of energy and blood throughout the meridian system.

What makes E.F.T. unique compared to acupuncture or other energy medicine techniques, is that it has a conscious mental/emotional component added. Therefore making it potentially an effective treatment in a counseling and psychological context.

When a stressful state occurs in the body due to a traumatic event, the bodies energy systems can easily become “programmed” into a stressful state. So when the thought of that traumatic even is brought up again in the present, the body returns to that same programmed state. That’s why when we think of a past trauma, we instantly re-live that same stressful feeling.

Talking about a trauma, without addressing the underlying physical and energetic imbalance in the system, is often unfruitful and progress is slow.

However, if we address the physical and energetic imbalance in the meridians that is related to the traumatic event as soon as possible, the emotional intensity of that stressed state tends to dissolve and all associated unpleasant feelings, emotions and negative thoughts tend to disappear very quickly!

How does this happen?

  1. Firstly, we bring to mind a stressful thought or feeling which will quickly trigger an unpleasant energetic state in our body and meridian system.
  2. Then, we acknowledge the unpleasantness, and start to tap on the key acupuncture points.
  3. Then, we use some very focused words and sentences while we tap on the acupuncture points to help dissolve it and clear it from our system. (A trained therapist, like myself, can help you with this.)

What we find is that after following this procedure over a number of minutes, the intensity of stress around the stressful thoughts or the past traumatic event dissipate dramatically. In some cases all emotional intensity around the event dissolve completely, right there and then.

When we tap on the acupuncture points while holding a trauma in mind we are stimulating and re-organizing the meridians system to restore energetic balance, therefore “snapping it out” of its unbalanced, stressful program. After a series of sessions working with the E.F.T. technique, it has been found that same person brings to mind the previous traumatic event, there remains little to no emotional intensity or stress around that event.

This approach has been found to be very effective when working with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post Traumatic Stress
  • Body aches and pains that are still present after traditional medical testing and treatment have not provided relief

 

If you want to see if E.F.T. can help you, please book in a 30min Free Clarity Call with me by clicking here.

 

Here is a great video about E.F.T.

Speak soon 🙂

 

5 Lessons From Kung Fu Training

As my final days of training in the Tienmeng Kung Fu academy, in the hills of Shandong, China, come to a close, I’ve been reflecting on some key lessons that  I’ve picked up from my short, yet intense, time here.

And this is what I’ve come up with…

1. If you don’t have strength, use speed

The good news is it is possible to defend yourself against a 6 foot 5 inch monster built like a tank. How? The key is speed. A quick jab or flurry of jabs to the neck or balls, and it’s game over, monster man.

This teaching comes from the Wing Chun school of Kung Fu, which emphasises speed and efficiency over strength, especially in close combat situations. The story of the origins of Wing Chun is somewhat fairytale and epic.

It is said that a group of martial arts masters gathered to work out a super-efficient and effective martial arts style that could be taught quickly to the monks of the temple, because they were increasingly under threat from foreign invaders, local warlords, and bandits. After the local warlord heard of the meeting and new potential threat, he sent in his troops and wiped out all masters, except a female nun, who escaped. She took shelter in a nearby cave, where she continued to work on and develop this new style. After some time, a local village girl discovered this nun and, realizing her background as a martial arts master, sought her help in defeating a terrible man forcing her to marry him. The nun went to the man with a challenge; if this girl with whom he wanted to marry could defeat him in a hand to hand fight, she would not have to marry him. Laughing at the challenge, he accepted.

The nun then trained the girl in effective techniques, and when the time came for the duel, the girl had the man flat on his back in just a few seconds. This girl became the first student in the lineage of Wing Chun Kung Fu, which then got handed down from generation to generation, eventually reaching Bruce Lee many centuries later.

The full story is told in this video I recently recorded – check it out…

A well-trained wing chun martial artist can unleash around 8 punches per second! Wow!

 

2. Stretch every day

If you want more flexibility, it requires stretching every single day. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to this.

In a conversation with another student, who is a trained physiotherapist, it was revealed that it’s not the muscle that is tight; it’s the neuro-muscular receptors at the muscle that is registering “stress” and therefore telling the muscle to lock up for protection.

Therefore, the stretching is a way of teaching and re-programming the nervous system that it is “safe” and the muscle can be released.

 

3. Repetition, repetition, repetition

Whenever you learn a new movement, whatever it may be, there is an engaged mental “learning” process involved, which takes a lot of your attention. Then, after repeating the movement again and again, eventually it will get embedded into your system, and then the mind that was previously occupied with the learning process will be freed up and be able focus on other things.

If you want to get good at anything, repeat, repeat, repeat until it becomes a no-brainer.

 

4. All kinaesthetic training helps

This refers to the observation that all movement-based training contributes to other movement-based Kung fu in Chinatrainings. When I was 20, I practiced Capoeira for 4 years, yet I haven’t practiced it for 10 years. However, for some Kung Fu kicks, the capoeira training re-emerged without effort and gave my kicks a lot of unexpected power. It is the same with the yoga; some of the yoga training came up in my Qi Gong and so on.

Therefore, all physical, kinaesthetic training overlaps and will benefit all other forms of training. Therefore, training is never wasted, so keep building up your physical movement dynamics – It all helps.

 

5. A relaxed body helps qi, speed, power, memory, and learning

When you learn new things, if you can relax your body and mind, it’s much easier to pick things up. It also helps your Qi move more easily throughout your body, offering better blood circulation and overall body relaxation. In Kung Fu, you go from hard “active” movements, followed by soft relaxed movements. When both are present, the practice becomes powerful, yet relaxed. Explosive, yet controlled.

In this way, your practice becomes dynamic, yet nurturing. Moving from intensity to relaxation and back again repeatedly is one of the keys to good health and vitality.

 

 

I am seeing how this training is already carrying over and expressing itself into my yoga practice. There is a feeling that my yoga will naturally take on a more martial arts dynamic which I think is exciting and is  something that my students will likely see in the coming months!

So, if you are looking for a good “kick up the butt” to gain more flexibility, discipline, and feel more capable of defending yourself if any self-defense situation arose, then consider studying Kung Fu in China.

It’ll rock your world!

 

The Energy Shift Summit Is Coming

Greetings!

Want to learn more about how energy medicine works?

Then, check out this special online event that’s coming up…

The Energy Shift Summit (Starts Nov 7)

One of the goals of this summit is to help de-mystify energy medicine and energy healing so that we can all have a better understanding as to how it works and therefore, be able to use it in a way that enhances the healing process.

The Energy Shift Summit is a FREE online event where a good friend of mine, Sonia, has interviewed over 20 experts in the field of energy medicine, energy healing and transformation.

(I’m one of them ~ Yes, that’s a shameless self plug… )

energy medicine

 

If you want to be involved just visit http://theenergyshiftlive.com/MichaelHetherington and enter your info. Then, from the 7th of November you will receive an email, every day, with one exclusive 30-minute expert video interview.

Each of our extraordinary experts will share inspirational stories, practical tips and resources, and they will also share a FREE gift with you to help you make positive changes in your life right away!

Energy medicine is the new frontier of medicine and I can say that it has changed my life. Energy medicine acknowledges the Human Energy Field (HEF) and how it plays a major role in health and wellness.

In the interview we talk about PAIN, what it is caused by according to Oriental and energy medicine, and how to go about treating it without using pain killers.

Generally, the more you know about how energy medicine works, the easier it becomes to work with it and manage your health.

 

If you want to learn more about energy medicine, then The Energy Summit is the perfect event to check out.

Click here to take a peek.

It’s completely free and it may change your life..!

If you’re on Facebook, come and find me by Clicking Here!

 

Speak soon!

A Healthy Poo is a Healthy You in Chinese Medicine

Let’s talk about poo. Yes, poo. Why?

Because learning to “read our poo” is a very accurate and reliable indicator of our internal organ health.

In traditional Chinese medicine, asking patients about their poo is one of the most important tools we have in our consultation bag of tricks. In fact, it is among the top 10 first questions that all medical practitioners should be asking.

Talking about our poo seems like such a taboo. (Yes, it rhymes!) We have even designed our toilets to sweep away our poo so that we don’t have to see it or smell it like we used to. The good old Asian squat toilet is quite the opposite. The Asian squat toilet has a little bench area carved out where the poo can sit so that we can have a good look at it before we flush it away.

So, if our poo is an indicator of our internal health, what is healthy poo and unhealthy poo? (I hear you ask…maybe?)

Okay, let’s talk about healthy poo first.

A healthy poo is a poo that is easy to pass, is neither too loose nor too compact, is brown in colour, has some ribbing marks on the side and doesn’t smell too much.

Another good sign is the frequency and timing of our poos. Ideally, we should be pooing in the morning; before breakfast is ideal and it should be happening about once a day. After the poo, we should feel light, a little empty and with a spring in our step. Of course, there can be slight variations in the regularity of our poos, as we are all a little different. However, it should be, on average, around once a day.

Here is a picture of a healthy-looking poo.

Okay, now let’s talk about an unhealthy poo, or a poo that is suggesting signs of imbalance. There can be a lot of variations here, so I will just discuss the most common versions.

The first type of unhealthy poo is one that is very loose and watery. It smells like it’s going to peel the paint off the walls. It can often come with abdominal cramping.

If there is a burning sensation when passing, it is a sign of too much heat in the body. Heat is often caused by too much spicy food, alcohol, coffee or meat in the system. The heat and general toxicity in the system cause the organs to let it move through the system fast so as to get it out of the body. Once it’s out of the body, it reduces the toxicity load and will also help cool the system.

To give you a better idea, here is a very convenient and neat picture of what watery, loose, poos tend to look like. If there is a lot of heat involved, they will also be very dark in color.

If there is no burning sensation on passing and the stools are loose, it could likely be due to too much “cold” in the body. This means that the organs don’t have enough energy or heat in them to process the food properly, therefore letting the food simply pass through the system unprocessed. Common signs include being able to see unprocessed food in the poo. This often occurs with people who eat “cold” foods like raw foods; eat too much fruit; use a lot of laxatives; follow extreme diets and don’t balance them out with warming drinks; hang out in warm environments; or engage in exercises that generate internal heat.

Another type of unhealthy poo is on the opposite side of the spectrum. We commonly call it constipation, meaning that poos come every two, three or four days, or even weeks at a time. 

These are difficult to pass and may have us sitting on the loo long enough to be able to finish reading a novel. They are also often pebble-like in appearance and are usually dark and compact. This is a sure sign of “stagnation,” meaning that the body is clogged up and the energy is not flowing smoothly. It is often related to a lack of exercise and an excessive consumption of wheat products, especially breads. It can also be related to the mind of the individual as well as the body, indicating that the person is resistant to change, finds it hard to adapt or let go, or is very stubborn in some way.

Generally speaking, small periods of time with any of these expressions of unhealthy poos are normal and common.

For example, if we have a big night out drinking and being merry, it is normal to have a hot, smelly poo the day after. Or if we are on the road and changing our living quarters regularly, it will often disturb the regularity of our bathroom habits.

However, a general rule of thumb is that if the unhealthy poo patterns continue for longer then two weeks at a time, that’s a sure sign of some underlying organ system imbalances at play.

When left untreated or ignored, it will often lead to some form of disease. It may not present as an illness directly connected to the bowel system, yet the bowel system provides an early indicator of an overall imbalance that may manifest in another part of the system later on.

Therefore, the moral of the poo story is that looking at, inspecting and keeping tabs on the quality of your poo will give you insight into your internal health. 

If you regularly experience unhealthy poo signs, try adjusting your diet and exercise regimen. Tweak your lifestyle and see how this influences changes in your poo. Consider your poo to be an indicator of your body’s health. The good news is that changing the quality of our poo can be a quick process and that you can see positive changes in just a few days. Therefore, it’s a great way to keep tabs on your progress.

If you have been experiencing unhealthy poos for a long time, I would suggest seeing an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist or traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner to get treatment or advice as to what you should adjust in your lifestyle or what herbs will bring things into better alignment.

I suggest TCM practitioners specifically more so then medical doctors or other health practitioners simply because in TCM poo is a large component of the medical approach. Therefore, TCM practitioners are very open to discussing it because they acknowledge how important it is. In fact, a TCM practitioner could even inspect your poo and come up with a fairly accurate diagnosis and treatment plan without even needing to talk to you.

If your poo shows indications of being healthy and regular, it’s a great sign that everything is working well and things are on track. I would suggest keeping up with whatever lifestyle you have set up because you would generally be in a good place physically, mentally, emotionally and, potentially, spiritually. Who would have thought that your poo could be connected to how healthy you are spiritually?

I wrote this blog with the goal of bringing poo out of the taboo, and to help people become more clued in about how our poo can help us identify imbalances and health indicators early on. It also provides direct feedback regarding our lifestyle choices.

I bet you didn’t expect how much your poo could tell about you!
(Yes, I had to finish it with another cheesy rhyme:)

 

What’s next?

  1. Check out my free book The yin & Yang Lifetstyle Guide
  2. Share this article with friends or anyone with whom may benefit.

16 Natural Ways to Reduce Jet Lag

Jet lag isn’t so fun, so any tips or tricks to help reduce its negative effects on the body and mind are worth exploring.

Jet lag comes about because of the disturbance to our inner biological rhythms.

The body’s myriad systems find it confusing and disorientating when we move through time zones and disrupt the cycles of light and dark.

Flying and travelling such vast distances in relatively short times puts the body under a great deal of stress. We have not had enough evolutionary time to adjust ourselves to the realities of air travel.

While we are unlikely to eliminate the effects of jet lag completely, we can reduce negative signs and symptoms with a few simple tips and tricks.

Here are 16 natural ways that I have researched and tried to help reduce jet lag.

 

Pre-flight (the day before)

1. Hydrate.
If you are hydrated at take-off, you will start your journey well and potentially reduce the after-effects of a long flight. I advise going to the chemist and getting a hydration formula or something similar. Have one or two hydration formula drinks the day before you travel. Avoid alcohol the day before.

2. Get quality snacks for the flight.
Avoid white bready stuff. Try and find protein sources like nuts, and for sweets, go for dried fruits.

3. Do at least a 30-minute yoga or stretch class.
(Try YouTube if you can’t manage to get to a class or studio.)

4. Do a strong resistance (weight) training session and/or go for a 30-minute run or jog the day before.
I find this practice helps a lot, because the day after any training session, the body wants to rest and repair. When we get on that plane, the body actually rejoices at the notion of sitting still and not doing much. This approach can really help people who (like me) have a tendency to feel stuck, with energy stagnating when on planes.

 

During the flight

5. Use ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones to reduce excessive auditory stress.

6. Try binaural beat audio mediations.
These can be really helpful, because they “massage” the brain and nervous system, helping it to adjust and relax. Putting on an eye mask and listening to binaural beat audio meditation at the time when you would normally be going to bed will help the body and brain to find states similar to sleep.

7. Keep hydrating, and avoid alcohol or coffee.
If you drink a glass of wine most nights, you may benefit from having just one glass of wine or beer to help you sleep and relax. If you do that, however, make the extra effort to hydrate by consuming another one or two hydration formulas, as well as having water close by.

8. Avoid white bread and white rice.

These have a tendency to fill us up, but they make our digestion sluggish, which can lead to constipation and discomfort. To keep your body feeling light and your digestion functioning well, avoid white bread, pasta and white rice.

9. Meditate.
Being stuck in a small seat, flying through the sky at 20,000 feet, is actually a good time to meditate. Meditation is neither exotic nor complex. All you do its close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Observe each breath come in and observe it go out. That is all.

10. Using essential oils like lavender, frankincense, rose, chamomile or vanilla can help us to relax and reduce stress on the nervous system.

Acupressure Points

11. Tap acupressure points at least once or twice during the flight to stimulate the energy moving through the meridians.
When the meridians are stimulated they will automatically work to reorganize themselves into a more balanced state. To trigger this reaction, all you have to do is tap the points 10-20 taps per point before moving on. Ideally do three rounds. The most common feeling after tapping acupressure points is a deep sighing breath, a more relaxed feeling in the body, and a steadier, calmer mind. Here is a picture of the main acupressure points. You simply tap the points with one hand moving from the top of the head to the rib cage or hand and then repeat 3 times.

 

After the Flight

12. When you’ve arrived at your destination, avoid sleeping in the morning if you can.
Wait till at least the afternoon to sleep. The closer you can get to sunset, the better – it will help the body to adjust to the new day and night cycles.

13. Hydrate again and eat wholesome foods.
Have another one or two hydration formulas to support the body’s efforts to find some balance once again. Providing it with the essentials, like quality water and a boost of key vitamins and minerals, will increase the speed at which the body can regain its balance.

14. Listen to 30 minutes of binaural beats or yoga nidra audio mediation.
20-30 minutes of resting while listening to binaural beats or yoga nidra is equivalent to 3-5 hours of deep sleep.

Restorative Yoga Pose15. Legs up the wall.
In yoga language it’s called “Viparita Karani”. It simply involves bringing your butt close to the wall, then rolling onto your back and sliding the legs go up the wall. You can adjust your distance from the wall to find help you find the sweet spot where you can settle and relax. Ideally stay for 10-20 minutes to gain the most benefit from this posture. It has a very powerful effect on all of the body’s systems and will naturally induce a relaxed state.

16. Go for a long walk or a 30-minute jog/run.
Nothing works better than a good walk or light run to shake off any residual feelings of being stuck in a small space with your energy becoming stagnant.

 

It is not necessary to follow all of these suggestions. I offer them to serve as a guide. Try introducing at least one or two new strategies to deal with jet lag, and eventually you will find the system that works best for you.

 

Happy Travels!

 

The 3 Step Healing Process

I have recorded a video blog for this one just to mix things up a bit. If for some reason the video is not working for you, I have got all the information from the video in written form also which is available below.

Okay, so in this post I’m going to talk a little bit about the healing process. So this is in reference to and relevant to any modality or training that acknowledges Qi or Prana in the human being so that means things like acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, chi gong, martial arts and many forms of meditation. So for convenience sake, I’ve managed to squeeze it down to three steps for healing.

The first step is to move out or flush out any stagnant Qi in the body.

So there’s a tendency for the human being to hold on to things for various reasons, mainly out of fear really. So we hold on to strong emotional experiences. We hold strongly onto beliefs, opinions. We hold on to potentially past trauma, past stories, past events. And what this tends to do is it creates like block or a tension inside our energy fields which inhibits the flow the smooth distribution of chi throughout our body. And if this is left untreated or undealt with for a very long time or for a long time it starts to manifest on the physical body so it starts to manifest as disease in the body and in the mind psychological disturbances can also result. So, therefore, the first focus in your healing process and our healing process is that we’ve got to move this chi, remove any stagnation in our body, in our mind and in our energy fields.

The second step is to purify Qi.

So, the purification of chi tends to happen automatically as you keep moving chi through you. Naturally it starts to become finer and finer and starts to become a better quality of Qi coming through. Other things to help the purification of Qi is like good food, good thoughts, good attitude, good understanding, helping other people, serving other people. Things like this also sort of enhances the purification of the Qi and brings in a finer, better quality source of Qi.

Okay, so the first one was move stagnant chi. Second one is purify Qi which tends to happen mostly automatically but you know you can help it along with food and such.

The third one is called cultivating Qi or storing Qi.

And this is more focused on actually generating and storing this Qi in our system. So we can store it in the chuckrow areas. We can store it in our Qi field. And what tends to happen when we start storing this stuff is that our energy field starts to get really, really strong. Our immune system gets really, really strong. And with enhanced ability or enhanced capacity to have greater amounts of Qi available to you is that you can use it for various reasons. First one being is that it enhances healing power so when you give a healing you’ve got a whole lot more energy to give. You’ve got a whole lot more energy to fuel your treatments. Another one is that you just get, you have more energy available to you to function in your daily life.

Generally the struggle that most people experience with life is because instead of pushing their Qi into life or they’re running on an empty, empty storage of Qi. They just don’t have much Qi available. So they’re really struggling through life but when you have a huge amount of Qi available. Like you’re really moving through the world in a very sort of strong way that’s not struggle. It takes on more of a fluidity, more of a smooth flow of life.

And the other thing about it is that when you’ve got a large amount of Qi available to you any thought, any intention, and any prayer that you have is charged and when you have, when you hold that thing in mind it is charged full of Qi and then that Qi sends out a ripple throughout the universe, throughout the cosmos so it is so much stronger. And, therefore, these things will manifest and you’ll have a stronger influence on the world. If your Qi is weak and you have an intention or a prayer it just doesn’t have much power behind it so the likelihood of it manifesting or the likelihood of it becoming actualized is greater reduced.

So, that third stage though is actually quite an advanced stage. And it does take, you probably need a couple of years or many years first moving your Qi and purifying your Qi first and the the storage and cultivation of Qi tends to come later. And in some cases for many people it may actually be a good idea to sort of step away from society for a short time. Not a short time, for a while and that’ll give you the chance to sort of build your Qi back up. And then once you’re Qi is really strong your, most people get a tendency to be drawn back into society and to function with that higher capacity in place. It’s really hard to get a strong Qi field and to really purify your Qi when you’re sort of stuck inside society’s norms and just exposed all the time to media and all those sorts of things so they don’t help build your Qi. They actually probably potentially are designed to weaken your Qi. So, therefore, the third stage is more of an advanced stage.

Okay, so just to summarize the first stage of healing is you’re got to move stagnant Qi through your body. The second stage is purify Qi. And the third stage is start to cultivate and store your Qi.

Yin, Yang and the Theory of Balance

(The following blog post is an excerpt from my book “The Yin and Yang Lifestyle Guide“)

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ~ Albert Einstein

What is often alluded to in discussions of yin and yang theory is the notion of balance. Balance is a somewhat illusive ideal state in which yin and yang are harmonized, equalized, and equanimous. What is rarely discussed is, what does being balanced actually feel like, look like, and how do I know if I am balanced or not? What are the signs that present themselves when balance is present? And if one becomes balanced, does that translate as being enlightened?

Because of the nature of yin and yang, the state of balance between these forces is actually a very rare occurrence. So much so, that the very notion that one can stay in balance for any amount of time is not really possible, or at least for any great amount of time. Yin and yang is like the movements of the planets or the rising and falling of the tides. Every now and then, the planets will align and the tides will be in the middle of the high and low tide but as we all know, they don’t stay in these states for very long.

The best we can do in regard to the ongoing dynamic movement from yin to yang, is to reduce the intensity and extremity of these shifts. So instead of having extreme yang periods of excitement, action, and intensity followed by extreme periods of fatigue, sadness, and sometimes depression is to become more steady and more in control of our thoughts, emotions, actions, and internal energies. To help clarify this, the steadier, less extreme path would look more like a kind of slower and milder oscillation between yin and yang with regular and longer periods through a balanced state. Whereas the opposed, the more extreme expressions of yin and yang, would look more like sharper, quicker, and more spikey oscillations, which include more extreme highs and lows with very quick and shorter periods passing through the balanced state. Below are some illustrations to help explain this (please forgive my crude drawings).

Middle path
Above: The Steadier, Less Extreme Path (Middle Path)

Extreme Path
Above: The Extreme, Excessive Path

For the human being, the wisest approach is to first accept that yin and yang are dynamic forces and there will always be movement from one to the other, with balanced states coming and going.

 

The second thing we can do is learn to flow with it, not against it, and in doing so, recognize that this emotional state, this situation, and so on will always change.

 

The third thing we can do is to avoid pushing ourselves to either extreme through building awareness and adjusting our lifestyles.

 

Although mankind has little control over the yin and yang forces expressing themselves throughout the universe, man does, however, have a unique capacity to learn and adjust the behaviors that help govern the yin and yang energies playing out in our own body and mind. The general principle being that we are best to avoid extremes of yin or yang energy, if possible. Any extreme in one direction eventually triggers a dramatic shift to the opposite extreme, which commonly manifests itself as some kind of illness, which manifests as a way for the universal forces to stop us in our tracks. Other examples of manifestations of too much extreme yin or yang are mental illness, physical degeneration, toxic organ overload, and burnout. In most cases, mostly because of our yang dominated culture, it is yang that tends to reach extreme levels before a rapid shift to yin is triggered.

Many years ago, I was treating a 30 year old fit looking man who was, until recently, a very successful sports athlete. He had been recently diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome as he was in a great deal of pain, fatigue, and mental confusion. After speaking with him during the treatment, I discovered that he had been training and competing in sports nearly every day of his life since he was 6 or 7 years old and in all that time, he had rarely had any time off to relax and just take some time out for himself. What became obvious to me is that he had been pushing yang, yang, yang for over 20 years and he had reached the point that yang collapsed and became yin. He was now flattened, unable to walk very far, and in a great deal of discomfort. Pushing and pushing yang, or yin, for long enough and it will collapse and bring the other energy in as an attempt to bring things back to some balance. Unfortunately for this young man, he was in the middle of a tough and long journey back to health and balance. In many cases of such extremes, it can take at least a year or three, that is if the person comes to accept their current condition and is proactive in getting their health and well-being slowly, patiently, and mindfully back into place.

The feelings associated with a completely balanced state tend to be a feeling that is devoid of the pulls of desires, wants, and needs on all levels.

There is a state of no cravings for any particular outcomes, no real hunger, no need for mental stimulation, and little to no interest in seeking out excitement. There is a natural and automatic experiencing of contentedness with whatever “is”. This word that best describes this experience is ACCEPTANCE. A deep feeling of acceptance permeates throughout our body and mind. Suddenly, there is a feeling of deep acceptance of one’s life situation, acceptance of others, acceptance of this, acceptance of that, and even the acceptance of the world’s current state, no matter how ghastly it may appear. It’s as if a higher energy state comes over us and we simply just “get it”. This state, depending on the person, and as illustrated above, can last from just a few minutes to many hours or even days. The more the state is experienced, the more one’s awareness sensitivity the longer one tends to sit in it. This heightened state of awareness during these periods of balance provide us a great peace, wisdom, and a taste of enlightenment, yet, it is not enlightenment. This is because even though we may be experiencing balance for a short time, this experience is still bound within the realm of yin and yang. To touch real enlightenment, it is necessary to transcend the forces of yin and yang and this is something I will talk about more later in the book.

There is one major potential trap regarding the experience of balance. Those who do not fully understand the laws of change tend to become attached to the pleasurable states experienced when one touches balance. When one becomes attached to this pleasurable balanced state, a great deal of tension will arise when the balanced state dissolves and the next phase of yin or yang arises, which is inevitable. Therefore, when experiencing the pleasurable balanced state, it is essential to let the phases of yin, yang, and this balanced state to still move through us unhindered as this will allow the flow of life to continue in a fluid and healthy manner and reduce the potential of extreme oscillations.

 

Yin and Yang

 

More information about Yin and Yang can be found in my book “The Yin and Yang Lifestyle Guide.” Available now on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 10 Minute Integration Rule

When I was in acupuncture school, we would often ask our lecturer, “How long should we leave the needles in?” The response was always the same: “At least 20 minutes.” Naturally, we would then ask, “Why 20 minutes?”

And so, it was soon revealed that in traditional Chinese medicine, as well as Indian yoga, the Qi or Prana, as it is known in yoga – travels quite slowly through the system, taking a full ten minutes to do a complete round of the body and mind. This means that the Qi in your thumb will return to the same position in your thumb in ten minutes time. Therefore, when we treat people with acupuncture, twenty minutes gives us a total of two complete Qi cycles, enough to have stimulated and adjusted the system. In special cases where the person being treated is considered to have a massive accumulation of Qi in a particular part of the body, it is more suitable to leave the acupuncture needles in for longer than 20 minutes but this is a topic worth exploring further at another time.

This ten-minute rule can be applied to all other aspects of our lives. For example, when trying something new, we must commit to the practice for at least ten minutes without any distractions and interruptions (phone calls, checking messages, etc.) to allow our Qi at least one full rotation through our system. This allows for full body and mind INTEGRATION to take place. The more Qi cycles that are completed when engaged in a task without distraction, the more it’ll stick and integrate. If we only concentrate for, say, five minutes, only half of our body and energy actually experienced it, not enough for it to be fully absorbed into our system. This is why I always suggest to people who are starting out in meditation to sit and practice for at least ten minutes.

The rule can also be applied to any particular task, such as studying, writing or doing your tax return. Allow yourself at least 10 – 20 minutes to get into the flow of things and this will also increase your chances of completing the task. Neuroscience is starting to support these findings, reporting that it takes about 20 minutes of focus on one task to start to get into the flow of a particular activity or practice.

So the next time you attempt to undertake a new practice or sit down to a task that doesn’t inspire you, give yourself ten to twenty minutes (1-2 full Qi cycles) to get into the rhythm. You will probably surprise yourself, and you will likely start experiencing more breakthroughs in your work and life.

 

 

How to get the Most from your Acupuncture and Massage Treatments

There are a number of things you can do to enhance the benefits and quicken the results from treatments such as acupuncture or massage. I have listed them below…

1. Don’t eat a huge meal before treatment, but also don’t go in starving.

If you receive a treatment when the belly is trying to process a large meal it can be uncomfortable when lying on the table. During digestion, the body will keep a lot of your energy in your belly area and therefore a treatment can be impaired due to the belly’s reluctance to let the energy flow elsewhere. Also, don’t go to your appointment starving as your blood sugar levels might crash and leave you feeling very light headed after the treatment. It is best to have a small meal or small bowl of food at least 30mins before treatments.

2. Don’t take pain killers before the treatment.

I once had a lady come to get acupuncture from me, but, afraid of the tiny needles, she downed a load of pain killers before the treatment. Firstly, the insertion of acupuncture is usually not as painful as the mind would have you believe; in truth, it’s no more then the feeling of a mosquito bite. Secondly, with acupuncture, if you can feel and sense qi moving in your body, the more powerful the treatment will be. If you block out all the ability to feel qi by dropping pain killers, the treatment is less effective and the patient probably won’t be able to sense any subtle changes afterwards. Thirdly, pain killers add toxins to your system and irritate the liver.

3 Show up 5-10mins early to your treatment.

There will be paperwork to fill in before your treatment, so allow time for this. Rocking up late often causes more stress and anxiety to you, the patient, and can add stress to the practitioner because they have to now juggle the time change. It can also mean your treatment won’t be as long and therefore as deep, and it may put the next patient out because your treatment went overtime. Please show up a few minutes early to your appointment to give yourself the best chance of getting the best results.

4. Don’t eat processed sugars soon after treatment.

At one clinic I worked at, the receptionist had a little bowl full of jelly beans for the patients in the waiting room (like in the old school doctors’ clinics). This infuriated me because I would often see my patients gobbling down a few jelly beans after I had been working my butt off for the last hour or so trying to get their bodies back to a more balanced, “switched on” state. Processed sugars send a stress signal through some of the meridians as soon as they touch the tongue and put the body into a “switched off” state. Soon after any treatment the body and energetics are in a venerable and fragile state, so taking in any processed sugar will affect the system quickly and dramatically. Therefore, avoid processed sugars for a few hours after any treatment. Fruit is a much better option.

5. Don’t drink alcohol after the treatment or for the rest of the day.

For similar reasons as made in the previous point. The body is in a fragile and venerable state after a treatment and putting in a toxic substance such as alcohol can quickly affect the body and energetics and potentially undo a lot of the work carried out on that person. Instead, drink plenty of water and hit the sack a little earlier then usual that night so the body can have a good chance to recover.

6. A little nap, sleep or shavasana (resting yoga pose) after treatment helps the benefits to integrate.

During acupuncture and massage, the body gets a massive energetic and chemical shakeup. The best way I have found to really let everything settle into its new pattern, its new arrangement, is to have a little nap or sleep soon after treatment. The opposite of this would be to go straight back to work and pump yourself full of coffee to try to shake off the desire to have a nap.

7. The best time to receive a treatment is in the late afternoon or early evening.

In the afternoons, the energy of the day winds down as it prepares for night time. Therefore, if you get a treatment in the late afternoon it will feel very natural as you leave feeling relaxed and a little sleepy so you can go home and chill out. If you get a treatment in the morning, it often feels like you have to push through feelings of sleepiness in order to get on with your day.

8. During treatments, close down the eyes and watch the sensations running throughout your body.

If we can add our mind to the sensations that are being experienced in the body, it adds more qi and energy to them, therefore enhancing the treatment. “Where the mind goes, energy flows.” This is also a practice similar to meditation which will also help slow down the breath, again enhancing the treatment.

9. Breathe.

Breathing enhances results because, when you move the breath, you move energy throughout your system. If you hold your breath, energy stops flowing. The best thing you can do when you are faced with any intense sensation during a treatment is to breathe through it. It helps if you can imagine that with every exhalation you are releasing any stagnant or unhealthy energy out of your body.

10. Drink warm water or warm herbal tea as soon as you get up from the treatment table.

The body tends to use up a lot of water during treatment to assist in the healing process and, often, you can get up from the table feeling very thirsty. Drinking warm water or tea as soon as you get up allows the body to absorb the liquid quickly and efficiently, bringing it back into an ideal state. If we guzzle down ice-cold water it can cause the body some stress as it has to work hard to heat the water up before it can absorb it.  If the clinic doesn’t have warm water, room temperature water is the next best thing.

11. Be gentle with yourself and don’t expect miracles from one treatment.

Miracles can happen, there is no doubt about this, but, in most cases, repetitive treatments are necessary. The body takes time to re-adjust itself to new patterns and new ways of being. Generally speaking, the longer the condition has been present, the longer it will take to adjust. For maximum results with acupuncture, usually around 6-10 treatments are required. Healing takes time, but, with enhanced bodily awareness and an open mind, improvements in one’s condition are often sped up dramatically.

 

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