Leah proudly announces her move to Stanford Healthcare and is exclusively seeing Qualcomm employees who want Acupuncture services at the Qualcomm Health Center at 10155 Pacific Heights Road, San Diego, CA.

Ways to Cleanse!

Spring Cleanse TechniquesThere are all kinds of ways to cleanse the body. Cleansing depends on the organ(s) you want to focus on, your age and overall health and the extent or goal you have for yourself.

Spring cleansing is good for weight loss, focus, energy, and creates better organ function for overall health. I have tried most kinds of cleanses from fasting, drinking olive oil to flush out the gallbladder, enemas, colonics, skin brushing and several beneficial healthy diet regimes. Most of these techniques are relatively easy and I felt physically better for them, although I do not recommend them to everyone at all times.

Fasting: A Simple Cleansing Technique

A fairly easy beginning cleanse is to fast. You can take on a fast by doing it many different ways. You could fast by eating nothing, a single food, or  eliminating certain kinds of foods from your diet. You can do it for a day, a week or a month. A few suggestions for the most beneficial kind of fast are

  • use pure water
  • eat organic foods
  • chew well
  • get sufficient mental and physical rest
  • and follow your intuition.

If you have never fasted, start with a series of short fasts and begin and end the fast gradually.

There are times when NOT to fast. Don’t fast during cold weather. Avoid fasting when there are serious physical or mental / stress problems. Don’t fast when you are already malnourished, during pregnancy or lactating. Please take stock on how you are feeling and what is going on in your life before you undertake a serious cleanse. Figure out what your health goals are before you fast.

Body Scrubs to Cleanse

Body Scrub CleansingAnother great way to cleanse your body is to scrub your skin. The skin is the largest organ of your body and a great place to start for a spring cleanse. In many other countries this is part of a daily ritual that benefits overall health. In Europe a dry natural brush is often used. It is suggested to brush your skin from the center of your body outward. If it feels too rough or raw for your skin you can start by doing it wet in the shower or bath. Check this website for more directions and benefits.

In Asia and the Middle East, a rough washcloth, towel or glove is used wet and vigorously so skin is actually sloughed off. You can find these kinds of cloths in any drug store. Your  skin becomes very soft after this technique. It also benefits people who tend to grow “barnacles” or Seborrheic Keratoses.

Acupuncture as a Spring Tune-Up

46001_600(1)In Chinese Medicine, it is suggested that we follow the rhythms of life and have an Acupuncture treatment once a season as a tune up. In the spring time our focus is on cleansing the body by moving the Qi, expelling toxins, and generally waking up from our inner hibernation. It is time to get motivated and work on our Spring Cleaning, inside and out.

Things have been in a dormant stage during the winter and March is the beginning of the emerging awakening season. Our Qi is rising from the inner depths and is more accessible to the action of the acupuncture needles. We are not unlike a tree where our energy (or sap) comes to the surface as the weather warms.

Acupuncture Points to Health

Points that are often used are LI-4, he gu or Union Valley. This is also know as the headache point and it commands energy in the body. SP-6 san yin jiao or Three Yin Intersection.  This point blends and balances the yin meridians that flow in the lower body. Liv 3, tai chong or Great Surge pairs with LI-4 and gathers our source Qi. St-36 zu san li or Leg Three Li commands the abdomen and helps relieve fatigue.

These are just a few examples of common points an acupuncturist might choose to tune you up for the new season during an acupuncture treatment. Each of you are such individuals with your own unique set  of health issues that the choice of points used can vary widely.

Acupuncture works by bringing the body back to balance and harmony. We can assist you in bringing this balance with eastern nutrition suggestions, exercise/stretching suggestions, herbal remedies, bodywork and of course Acupuncture. By encouraging our bodies to wake up after what might feel like a sleepy winter we can help create the sense of well being. This experience after a spring treatment feels uplifting and enhances our overall health and attitude.

Moxibustion at Home after Acupuncture

moxibustion acupunctureI often send people home with a Moxa stick to treat themselves at home. This is a wonderful way to continue an acupuncture treatment at home and empower the patient in their healing process. To read about moxibustion and why it’s used with acupuncture, see this article.

Moxa is an inexpensive and safe way to continue an acupuncture treatment at home if carefully monitored. The easiest way is to use Stick moxa or Japanese moxa on a platform. In the picture to the left, you can see a dark stick of  moxa. The moxa sticks  can be wrapped in different colored paper. The 2 items with a green platform are the Japanese type of moxa.

Using Stick or Platform Moxa after Acupuncture

With the stick moxa, you just light it and wave it over the area of the body you wish to warm up. Have an ashtray nearby for ashes. To extinguish this type of moxa stick,  place the burning end in a shot size glass with rice or  sand in it to snuff out.

Alternatively, place the platform Moxa over an area of your body. Light the Moxa and lie still till it burns down or you are ready to get up. Carefully lift it off the area if it is still burning. There is often a bit of sticky adhesive on the bottom so it stays in place. This type of Moxa will burn out on its own but have an ashtray nearby.

I suggest you do this  either outside or in a room you do not mind getting smoky. Moxibustion can be a great adjunct treatment to your acupuncture but do use it with care. If you are using the platform type of moxa, make sure you’re wide awake – falling asleep is not recommended!

If you have any questions about the benefits of using this technique after acupuncture, get in touch with me using the contact form.

Mindful & Green Holiday Gift Ideas!

I don’t know about you but this holiday season came faster than ever before. I have a few ideas for holiday gifts for your family and friends.

  • A CSA membership to your favorite farm. Search for CSAs in your local area. This is a great way to get constant reminders to eat good fresh foods. If you don’t want their veggies, check out donating to them as a gift in someone else’s name.
  • *A Massage or Acupuncture treatment from me! (I know it is shameless to hawk myself but rush to help DE-STRESS from the hectic pace of the holidays.
  • *One year my daughter helped me pick out some ducks and part of a cow from Heifer International for her cousins holiday gift. It was one of the more unique gifts we gave and it gave the kids, who were young at the time, a wider view of the world. Heifer International website is http://www.heifer.org/.
  • *One of the best gifts that was suggested to me was “50 Reasons Why I Love You”. Write down 50 reasons why you love
    someone. Everything from “The great meals they prepare” to “How they hold your hand when you are out on the town”. One
    of my family members gave this to her husband. He said it was the best gift he ever got. A great gift for someone who has everything!

Our Feet!

Acupuncture FeetI have a confession to make, I love feet!  I am not sure if it is because I love my own feet rubbed or that I am fascinated by 5 wiggly appendages protruding from blob at the end of our leg but I think feet are great.  What is more important, my clients love that I think feet are great.

I am not sure when it started but my appreciation of how it feels to get ones foot massaged and to massage others feet was sealed in college.  I think it was the positive reinforcement that I received from my recipients that made me feel so good.

So with no further delay let’s talk about these wonderful appendages that connect us to the ground we walk on.

One might think as an acupuncturist I would be sticking needles into the feet.  I find the feet very sensitive and general do not needle them very often.  I find it much more effective to relax, heal and diagnose what is going on by massaging them.

Diagnose you say?  I use reflexology charts as a method of supporting my suspicions of what might be going on in the body.  I am sometimes surprised by what I find.  One time I was giving a massage to a young man that was given the massage as a birthday gift.  He seemed to be in good shape but when I was massaging his right foot in the area of the liver it was as if he had a “hole”.  I was able to press my thumb with very little resistance into the liver area.  I told him that this was something I had never experienced and asked him if there was any problems with his liver.  It was then that he confessed he was getting over hepatitis and was unnerved that I could pick that up in his foot.

I have had a few people say they do not like their feet massaged but after getting my hands on them I can usually convert them.  The trick is to work on a persons foot while they are sitting or lying face up.  Skeptics generally like to see what you are doing to them.  The next trick is to start near the heal, not the toes. Toes tend to be very sensitive while starting with the heal you sneak up to those more sensitive areas slowly.

All in all feet have a special place in my heart.  Massaging them during an acupuncture treatment helps put the person in an extra deep healing space.  It really helps me figure out my acupuncture and herbal treatment protocol.  Plus it is my secret that helps keep people coming back for more.

Cutting Vegetables for Maximum Benefit

chopping carrotsI want to touch on how to cut our food for maximum benefits, especially vegetables. In the process of cutting vegetables we change or cut the foods energy pathways, to make them easier to cook, more digestible and more appealing to the eye. The smaller you cut the vegetable the more energy it takes from you but the more enlivened and quicker it takes to cook that vegetable.

You can actually cut wilted veggies small and it reenergizes them. The smaller the cut, the easier it is to digest which helps the elderly and children. Veggies that are left whole or cut in large pieces are better for stews or baked dishes. They retain their natural vitality and sweetness.

In many traditional cooking methods it is important to wash the cutting board and knife between each item that is cut. It retains the uniqueness/individuality of the item until they are ready to combine. I find this to be important to keep the clarity of tastes until they are ready to be combined in the recipe.

For vegetables that will be combined in cooking, try to cut each one of them a similar size for more uniform cooking. I also learned to cut the vegetable such as a carrot on a diagonal or bias so the person eating it gets some of the top and some of the bottom energies of that carrot. There really is no wrong way to cut vegetables but by being mindful and cooking with intention a meal becomes the nourishing sacred event that it is meant to be.

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

Walking Meditation

Resource: www.yogateacher.com/text/meditation/on-line/walking.html


walking meditationWalking Meditation is a wonderful initiation for beginners into the art of Meditation. It is easy to practice, and enhances both physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It is especially effective for those who find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time.

Some people enjoy practicing in a beautiful outdoor setting, like a park. Others prefer to practice indoors, due to poor weather, or desire for privacy.

Start out walking a little faster than normal, and gradually slow down to a normal walking speed, and then continue to slow down until you start to feel artificial or off balance. Speed up just enough to feel comfortable, physically and psychologically. At first you may need to walk fairly fast to feel smooth in your gait, but with practice, as your balance improves, you should be able to walk more slowly.

Be mindful of your breathing, without trying to control it. Allow the breath to become diaphragmatic if possible, but always make sure your breathing feels natural, not artificial. Allow the breath to become circular, and fluid.

Walk with ‘soft vision’ allowing the eyes to relax and focus upon nothing, while aware of everything. Let all worry and sadness fall away from you as you walk. Walk in silence, both internal and external. Be mindful of your walking, make each step a gesture, so that you move in a state of grace, and each footprint is an impression of the peace and love you feel for the universe. Walk with slow, small, deliberate, balanced, graceful foot steps.
Resource: www.yogateacher.com/text/meditation/on-line/walking.html

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

Alternative Health: Take A Walk!

WalkingThis is my new mantra. Actually, it is not so new but I strongly suggest it as a way of healing for many health issues.

If you have insomnia; Take A Walk. If you are cold; Take A Walk. If you have PMS; Take A Walk. If you have a problem with friends or relationships; Take A Walk. If you feel pent up, melancholic, frustrated or stuck; Take A Walk!

The human race used to walk long distances all the time. It was only in the last 50 to 75 years that we curtailed our walking with the invention of the automobile. Up till then whether you lived in the city or the country people walked a lot more than we do today. It was one of our only means of transportation.

If you haven’t walked in a while, start by looking at your watch (or cell phone) walk out your front door, walk for 5 minutes, turn around and come back. Congratulations, that was a 10 minute walk; a great way to start. If you are an experienced  walker, than I am talking to the choir and encourage you to take it to  another level of either fitness, awareness, or meditation.

We live in one of the most wonderful climates in the world. Please take advantage of our beautiful weather and get outside!

Here are a few sites to further explore walking:
www.thewalkingsite.com – a great beginning overall site.
www.yogateacher.com/text/meditation/on-line/walking.html – has an excellent explanation on walking meditation.
www.walkstyles.com – a website to connect to a walking club.
www.ava.org – walk with the clubs and walkers of the American Volkssport Association.
www.trails.com/activities.aspx?area=14949 – walking trails by state.

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

Benefits of Cast Iron Pots & Pans

Cast Iron CookingIn my post How We Cook Our Food Matters, I talked about the the health benefits of the kind of vessel we use, and the methods of cooking, baking vs. broiling and our state of mind when we are preparing the meal. Here I want to cover one kind of vessel: cast iron pots and pans.

Cast iron is actually a way to go green. You can actually save energy because it takes less heat to cook than other pots or pans. It is known to be a dietary source of iron especially when you are cooking with high acid foods like tomatoes. However, if you are taking a high dosage of iron supplements check with your doctor to see if there is any concern so you are not overdosing with iron.

If you fry or saute your foods or love to bake foods like corn bread, there is nothing better than cast iron to get the best crust on your food. Once you get used to this type of cooking, you would not want any other pan. Cast iron is extremely durable and can be put into the oven from the stove.  Cast iron cookery will give you the biggest bang for your buck. It is the least expensive cookware that will give you the best even cooking out there.

And if you don’t like to cook, well, it makes a great weapon.
From an article by Sea Shepherd, Nov 2007

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.

How We Cook Our Food: Pots, Pans & Cooking Methods

CookwareLet’s talk about the kinds of cookware and the cooking methods we use and how they contribute to our health. Over the years, I have switched all of my pots and pans to either, heavy gauge stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or cast iron. These vessels have either an inert effect on the food we cook in them or can contribute (like iron) to the nutritional value of our meal. It has been suggested by many health sources to avoid cooking in aluminum or with coated pots and pans. Aluminum can react with the enzymes in the food, and coatings are toxic and can chip off into our food. (We do, however, keep a coated crepe pan in the house that we only use to make crepes and only use a plastic spatula on these occasions so not to chip any of the coating off).

The method of cooking we use affects our overall health as well. Although, the thought of cooking makes you think things are only warming, the methods used range from a more yin (cool) toa yang (hot) quality. In order from cooling to warming we have: Steaming which adds moisture or a yin quality and brings out flavor. Stir frying or sauteing which is quicker and uses a small amount of oil and is more warming. Broiling is more warming than stir frying while Baking is even more warming as well as drying. The drying action can be modified by baking food with water added, such as in a covered hot pot.

Pressure cooking is a great way to concentrate the nutrients of your meal, plus it can speed up the time of cooking. Microwave cooking is discouraged because of the controversy surrounding its effect on food. For more detailed information please check out “Healing With Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford.

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Leah Davida Krecu is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing at Circle of Life Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, California since 1997. She practices a light style of acupuncture with a heavy emphasis on bodywork. Leah is always open for questions at her office at 760-632-7728.