Confessions of a Curly Hair Girl

For as long as I can remember I was never content with my natural thick and wavy hair. Straightening my hair was always a hassle, so when I was younger I would get a perm here and there just because it was easier to manage. I was always indecisive,  if I’d cut my hair short, I’d grow it long, and I always, ALWAYS had the stylist thin it out because it was just too much. I was never content with the locks that I had on my own head. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to embrace it! My hair always felt dry, and frizzy, and it had to be cut a certain way or it looked ridiculous! It would look like I had choppy layers or just a straight blunt cut.. I was never taught how to wear it natural or how to maintain my curls.

The next logical step of course was the internet, and I would YouTube ridiculous videos that didn’t work for my type of hair. During my experiments, I did find some tips and tricks that worked for me. Us curly hair girls have some secrets (at least I do) that might surprise some of you. Here are some confessions that I think most curly hair girls can relate to.  

I rarely wash my hair!

Most people can get away with every other day or every other-other day, but people with curly hair like me, we could get away with washing it maybe once or twice a week, that may sound gross to some of you but the longer I go without washing my hair the curlier my hair gets. Dry shampoo, is a very good friend of mine. It allows me to extend the length of time i can wear my hair down by another full day. This also means I get one more day of being able to wear it up! To be honest, the more days I wear my hair down, the more oily it gets.

Brushing

We don’t do it: like ever! More than likely we don’t even own one. At least I don’t! I either run my fingers through my hair in the shower or I use a wide tooth comb. If I comb my hair after the shower, once it starts to dry, it looks like a hot frizzled mess!

 

Cock-tailing

No, I am not talking about the drinking kind, I LOOVVEE to cocktail my products. I HAVE to use products, and if I don’t, my curls are frizzy or dull. I personally like to use a mouse or gel for a good hold. My absolute favorite product to use for my curls is a sea salt spray! I especially use it on day two or three depending on how my curls look the next morning.  My routine consists of a leave in conditioner, gel or mouse, and a hair oil or serum. The next/last day I may mist my hair with some water and then spritz in some sea salt spray and I’m good to go.

Blow-drying

It doesn’t happen for me, like ever! First of all, my hair takes forever to dry. Secondly, my hair would look like I stuck my finger in a socket; big and all over the place. If we do decide to blow dry our hair we always use a diffuser.

As you can see, my hair care routine is a tad bit different than how you might style or care for your hair. Like I said earlier, it took me a few trial and errors to find out what works for me, so my best advice for anyone would be to find what works for you. Everyone’s hair is different, and different tricks work on different hair types. So what works for me may not work for you. I have grown to love the hair I have, and my passion for curly hair has also grown as well! 

 

~Kylie

A curly haired girl

 

My Hairdressing Journey

My Journey ~ By Kylie

We all have a background to how we got where we are today and along that journey we all experience bumps in the road, like clients that make you want to rip your own hair out, or at times even questioning, “Is this something I really want to do with the rest of my life?” Like so many others, I’ve also experienced those same hurdles, but throughout my journey this far, I’ve found a passion for this career. One that I knew was there all along.

When I was a little girl I was passionate about dance and I stuck with it for 10 years. Now, I loved dance in general, but my favorite thing was the recitals! I loved getting into costume, having my hair and makeup done, and just feeling fabulous! From little on I had loved getting my hair or makeup done, so when it was time to start thinking about college and my life after high school, the only thing I knew that I was passionate about was the cosmetology field.

You can ask anyone that really knows me and they will agree that I am a city girl at heart, so when it came down to looking at cosmetology schools, there was no question that the bigger city was calling my name. People assumed I would go to Wausau, or Eau Claire, simply because it was closer to home, but I wanted adventure! I had a desire to meet new people and to see and experience new things. For me, that meant traveling to a different state, Minnesota. I came across Regency Beauty Institute in Blaine, Minnesota, and I instantly knew that this was the school for me! I was super excited to start my journey as a cosmetologist and start this new adventure.

As I walked into the lobby at beauty school on the first day, I remember that there were about 15 other girls also waiting to be told where to go and what to do next. I gained so many experiences through school, but some of my favorite things we did were avant-garde, fantasy makeup, and of course when we were able to work and practice our new skills on one another.  I ended up learning so much more than I ever could have imagined and I even met some pretty amazing friends along the way. Of course, I had my fair share of bumps in the road as I attended school and towards the end of my program, I even started to doubt and question my career path. Through it all, I successfully completed my program and became a licensed Minnesota Cosmetologist. Due to the self-doubt I struggled with about my path, I ended up moving back home to where it felt safe. There, I knew I could take the time to figure out exactly what I wanted to do.

Before I moved home, I was told that there was a difference in hours of schooling between Minnesota and Wisconsin, but my school reassured me that they could help me obtain the hours necessary in order to receive a Wisconsin Cosmetologist License. The difference was 200 hours! I was given two options, to either go back to Regency for two months and spend roughly $2000, or I was told I could simply wait it out until Wisconsin changed their hours to match Minnesota’s. I decided to save money and wait it out. Well, I waited, and I waited, and I waited! Finally, I decided I would try to find a receptionist position at a salon somewhere around the area, as a way to get my foot in the door.

Long story short, that’s how I ended up here, at Back To Bliss! I was hired as a receptionist and shortly after, Monica asked if I wanted to do the apprenticeship program in order to make up the difference or hours. Of course I said yes!! Little did we know that instead of simply being able to make up the 200-hour difference I had to do an ENTIRE year of apprenticeship, but in the end, it was so worth it!

When leaving cosmetology school the educators said, “We just teach you the basics. You learn so much more when you go out into the real world and get experience.” They were so right! My educators at Regency were awesome and there’s no doubt that I learned a lot from them. They pushed me to never give up, and that practice always makes perfect, but I always felt as if I learned nothing other than “just the basics.”

At the salon, Monica and the other stylists taught and are continuing to teach me new tips, tricks, and techniques every day. Monica is an awesome mentor! Shortly after I started my apprenticeship she helped me realize how much I do love being a cosmetologist and how strong of a passion I have for the art of cosmetology. I can honestly say that I can’t picture myself doing anything else the rest of my life. I’m happy I report that in October, I had officially obtained my Wisconsin Cosmetology License!

Over the years I have come to realize, my likes and dislikes in this industry and what areas I am more passionate about than others. For instance, I always have been passionate about good skin care, and I thought that this was the area that I wanted to mainly focus on, however, this has started to shift. For example, I’ve gotten more into perms! I am all about curly hair! The curlier the better! I believe that at one point in our lives we have all envied the girl with the naturally curly hair. I am also known as the blowout queen around here, so give me a round brush and watch me do my magic!

I have had quite the adventure so far in this industry and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!  Thanks for taking the time to read about my journey as a stylist thus far. I hope you decide to follow along and join me as I continue to grow as a stylist!

 

Xoxo Kylie Gonnering

Associate Level Stylist

 

Wisdom of The Wood Element: Flex

Metaphor of Wood

The wood element is associated with all plant life, but its archetypal symbol is most closely associated with the tree. The vertical line of the tree serves as a connecting point between heaven and earth. The roots and branches of the tree are often mirror like images of each other (roots connecting to earth, branches reaching to heaven, and trunk linking them both). The wood element represent the internal map of destiny that each individual is born with. Wood is often associated with goals and the forward movement needed to reach those goals. The wood time of life are our growing years which include all of our childhood and our early adulthood. This is the time in life when we are discovering who me are in the world and what our purpose is.

Wood and Emotion

The emotions most closely related with wood element are anger and frustration. Wood wants to grow and expand and push past boundaries (think about deep penetrating roots or outreaching vines). Wood hates to be confined. Wood is compelled to take risks, accomplish goals, take initiative, meet challenges, and stay busy. When Wood encounters obstacles it can both become flexible and adapt, or it becomes rigid and immoveable. When things get in the way, wood reacts with anger and or frustration. Anger is often a signal that one has reached the end of a boundary line and or that someone or something has crossed one’s boundary. When Wood is not able to reach its goal and feel a sense of accomplishment it is agitated, irritated, and frustrated.

Wood’s Biggest Strength

The strength and power or wood is that of expansion. Think of a pioneer setting out to experience new lands that have never been charted before. It is like the Star Trek motto, “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” When wood is out of balance, it becomes domineering: attempting to take over and control things. “Bossy” is a good way to think about out of balance Wood. People with excessive Wood often sound as though they are shouting. If Wood gets too far out of balance the energy becomes compressed as though the person is in a pressure cooker that is volatile and ready to explode at any moment.

Wood Asks

• What do I do, what are my goals?
• How do I accomplish my goals, what is my strategy?
• Am I accomplishing my goals or feeling frustrated?
• Do I need to change my current strategies/
• Am I trespassing on others boundaries or allowing them to trespass my boundaries?
• In what areas of my life do I need to establish or reinforce my boundaries?
• Am I angry on a consistent basis? If so, what is fueling this anger?
• What areas of my life need a fresh vision and forward movement?

Moving Forward With Flexibility

• Nourish the Wood element by getting out and taking a walk in the woods. The forward movement of walking accompanied by the surrounding vegetation, especially trees, will bring stimulation and balance to the wood element.
• Bring wooded objects, furniture, or petrified wood crystals into your life.
• Sit down and write down your goals and your strategy for accomplishing those goals
• Say no to people and things that are not in line with your purpose, life mission, and goals
• Be accepting of other people’s boundaries when they say “no” to you

Wisdom of The Water Element: Flow

The Metaphore of Water

Water is both the beginning and the end of the journey through the five element phases of Chinese Medicine. Water represents the beginning of our earthly journey as we are nourished in the watery environment of the womb. The water element is closely associated with fertility and the seeds of new life. Water also represents the end of the cycle in that it is associated with the dark abyss such as the deepest parts of the ocean, and because it is represented in the winter season: the time of coldness, dark, slow movement, and hibernation. The Water element is concerned with our origins and our destiny. It asks what is my past and what is my future?

Water & Emotion

The emotion associated with the Water element is fear, anxiety, or awe. The spiritual fear that Water element is concerned with is that of extinction; the ultimate fear of death being equal to annihilation. The existential question of Water is “where do I come from?” The desire to know ones origins also serves to quell the deep fear of extinction, because perhaps if we are able to know where we come from we will also know where we are going or what our ultimate end will be.

Water’s Biggest Strength

The power of the Water element is consolidation; it is able to bring ethereal energy into a “solid” state. If the power of Water becomes imbalanced and extreme it leads to such strong consolidation that one becomes petrified. Water in balance flows smoothly and easily between states and is able to be as soft and light as steam or as solid as a block of ice.

The core wisdom of Water is to flow. Whether you are shallow or deep – flow. Whether you are a babbling brook or a raging river— flow. Flow in such a way that, just like water, you can transition from state to state easily with as few dramas and struggles as possible.

Water asks…

  • Do I feel strong and rooted in my history, do I know where I came from?
  • Do I feel secure about my future?
  • What is my purpose or “destiny” (What do I feel called to do and designed for?)
  • Am I living in fear on a consistent basis? If so, what am I fearing?
  • Am I flowing (solid and moving) or petrifying (so stiff I can’t move)?
  • Where in my life can I replace the petrifying feeling of fear by taking action and “flowing”?

Getting in the flow…

  • Spend time observing fish in an aquarium, it build your water element
  • Spend time watching water flow in a river or stream
  • Spend time near a lake
  • Swim
  • Soak your feet in water and epsom salt (the very first point on the Kidney Channel and the very last point on the Urinary Bladder Channel (both organs associated with the element of water) are located on your feet. Salt is the flavor associated with water

Wisdom of The Five Elements: An Introduction

Basics of Five Element Theory

Dynamic, ebb and flow, and the circle of life are just a few ways of describing the rthymic balance we experience in life on an everyday basis.  The early Chinese were astute observers of nature. They witnessed that there was a fundamental movement between all things in nature. They summed up this observation with the development of a philosoophy; the interplay of yin and yang.

Yin describes things that are darker, heavier, deeper, more hidden, slower moving, and cool.  Yang describes things that are bright, light, on the surface, fast moving, and warm.  The five elements of Chinese medicine are the first five fundamental things that are created by the interplay between yin and yang.  In fact, the five elements are descriptions of yin and yang on a gradient scale.  Extreme Yang is known as Fire, while extreme Yin is known as Water.  Yang within Yin is known as Wood, while Yin within Yang is known as metal.  Earth was originally the centralized balancing point upon which all the other elements pivoted.

Five Elements and Life Cycle

The five elements describe our journey through life. We are born into the Wood phase of life where we are growing, expanding, rising, and sprouting.  We move into our early adulthood in the Fire phase of life where we are exploring, diffusing, finding love, and starting to earn a living.  The high point of life is the Earth phase.  Earth time is a balanced time, where things are flowing along, and we feel solid.  Earth time is also a crossing point or a bridge leading us to the second half of our life.  After Earth time, comes Metal time, or the Metal phase of life.  Metal time is where things start to contract, consolidate, and solidify.  Metal time is our later adult years, often when people in America decide to retire.  After Metal comes Water.  The Water phase or Water time of life includes our very old age where we once again become flexible and fluid.  The Water Phase is also associated with Pregnancy and the seeds of new life.  In the journey of the five elements, there is no end, only new beginnings as the cycle recreates itself.

The five elements of Chinese medicine have many associations, and vast applications.  They correspond to various organs and meridians in the human body. They relate to our physical environment. They even related to interior design when we apply them through the principles of Feng Shui.  It is my desire to share with you the wisdom and practical applications that the five elements can have to various areas of life.  Please look for  upcoming blog posts where I’ll share stories, insights, practical wisdom, and a dose of good humor.

Until next time,

I’m Jocelyn Michel, with you every step of the way.

 

Waxing: It’s Not That Bad!

When To Wax

Generally in winter, the last thing you think about is waxing, especially the parts that aren’t exposed to the chilly air; but you should not skip waxing in the winter for many reasons. What if you are going on vacation? You’ll want to wax those areas that a swimsuit won’t cover; and who wants to worry about shaving while you are supposed to be relaxing.

Why do you want to wax year round? Our hair grows in 3 stages: the growing stage, the dormant stage, and the falling out stage. When we get in a routine of waxing, we can get the hair when it is the dormant or falling out stage which can make the hair come out easier and it can hurt less. The hair will also stay away longer. You want to wax throughout the fall and winter, as well, so that when spring and summer comes it wont be as difficult to wax. Some people will choose to wax in the warm months and shave in the cold months, but that is not suggested, you should either shave or wax. The reason being, you will get out of the routine of hair growth and you will basically start all over. You can trim some hairs if they get to long before your next wax, but don’t shave.

What can you get waxed?

Just about anything! From eyebrows down to your toes, it can be waxed. If you have never been waxed, I wouldn’t jump into body waxing right away. I would start small like the eyebrows; that way you get a small taste of what to expect. Here at Back to Bliss we have 4 categories of waxing; Slick, Glazed, Polished, and Smooth. The Slick category includes: brows, chin, upper lip, fingers, and cheeks. Everything in the Slick category is $10 no matter who you go to. The Glazed Category includes: under arms, bikini, abdomen, and shoulder, these services range in price from $30-$36 depending on who see. Last but not least the Smooth Category includes: brazilian, full leg, and full back; depending on who your practitioner is the price ranges $50-$60.

Clarifying Bikini Waxing

If you are wondering what the difference is between the bikini, bikini shaping, and the brazilian; let me clarify for you. The bikini wax is anything that is outside the panty line. The bikini shaping is just a bit more in and a bit lower than the regular bikini wax. The brazilian is the removal of all hair in the pubic area, front to back.

Different Types Of Wax To Use

There are two types of wax, soft wax and hard wax. The reason there are different kinds of waxes is for different areas of the body and the difference in coarseness of the hair. When using a strip wax, the hair as well as the top layer of skin gets removed. Generally this wax gets used on the eyebrows and larger areas of the body. When using a hard wax, only the hair gets removed. This wax is used on people with very sensitive skin, and on very sensitive areas; for example, when getting a brazilian wax.

This is all the technical information about waxing. I will be doing another blog about waxing, the things you should know about waxing and what to expect. Stay tuned for Part 2!

Jessica McCord

~Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life.~ Yoko Ono

Why Haven’t I Gotten Better: Intentionality and Healing

So, you’ve been everywhere, seen everyone, done everything and you are still sick!  This is usually the second most asked question I hear, I’ve done everything I’m supposed to, why am I still sick?  Every form of medical care has it’s philosophy of why we get sick and what we need to do to feel better, but what happens when we’ve done everything we can think of, we’ve done everything the doctors, therapists, healers, and experts have told us to do and nothing seems to work.  Or if it does work, it is temporary at best.  This brings us to a place that falls outside of the “scientific realm” and takes us to that place known as placebo effect.  What is the placebo effect?

A placebo is traditionally defined as a harmless pill or treatment that has curative effects because of the belief we place in it.    My personal definition of placebo is much broader and more encompassing, it is:  everything that contributes to healing that practitioners are not really accounting for.  This can include everything from the environment of the treatment room, the time of day, the current weather, and the interpersonal relationship between patient and practitioner.  Along with the tangible things that we can think of and name, placebo also includes things we can’t really “put our finger on” or give a name to.  One of those elusive “things” is something called intentionality.  Intentionality is just what it sounds like, it is our intention or will, our desire, our goal, what we put our focus on, what we want to receive from the actions we are taking.  Part of the concept of intentionality includes the idea of personal power and choice; that each of us has power and we can exercise that power through our choices.  When we make choices, we also receive consequences.  Sometimes the consequences are exactly what we are wanting.  The challenge comes when the consequences we receive don’t seem to match up with what we think and say that we want.

That is correct, “what we THINK and SAY that we want” does not always line up with what we really want on a deep down heart level.  Whenever we are not making progress in healing, it becomes necessary to do some deep down internal work and get painfully honest with ourselves about what it is we really want.  Chances are if we are honest with ourselves, there are things about being sick and infirmed that we like.  There is something about not being well that is benefitting us more than being well.  OR, we have gotten so attached to the illness we are experiencing that the illness has become our identity, and to let go of the illness we would be losing a part of ourselves.  So, how can you find out what you really want on a deep down level, and if deep down your intention is focused on illness instead of wellness?  The first step to every “change” process is awareness.  We can’t make a new choice, until we are aware of the choices we are making right now.

Here are some provocative questions to ask yourself that may help bring awareness of your current choices and intentions behind those choices in regards to your health and well-being:

  • When was the last time I really felt good (I was happy, energetic, and life was flowing)?
  • What is it like for me when I feel really good? What is my definition of feeling good?
  • When did I start feeling “sick”? How old was I? What type of work was I doing?  Where was I?
  • What is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about this sickness, illness, trauma, etc.…? (a person, place, thing, color, smell, physical sensation, a word or image)
  • How does this thought, experience, image relate to the illness?
  • Does someone else in my life benefit from me being sick? Who else in my life (spouse, child, family member, friend, etc…) benefits from me being sick?  What do they get out of it?
  • What is it that I dislike the most about being “sick”?
  • Is it possible that I’m getting something out of being “sick”? What are the potential benefits that I’m getting from being “sick”?
  • Is there anyone else in my family or in my life that also has chronic illnesses or “sickness”? What do they get out of being “sick”?
  • How does my family group or “tribe” respond when one of us is sick, ill, or injured?
  • Is it possible for me to feel better?
  • Is it possible for me to get completely well?
  • Is this something I “have to” live with for the rest of my life?
  • What would be different in my life if a miracle happened and I was suddenly totally and completely well in every way?
  • Do I want to be well?
  • Why do I want to be well?
  • What am I willing to do to get and stay well?

There are many more questions we can ask ourselves, but the following list is a good place to start.  It takes great courage to be honest with ourselves and see if there is anything internally keeping us from being the healthy vibrant person we want to be.  Awareness is power because when we become aware of the choices we are making we have the ability to access our power to make a new choice.   One of the most powerful things you can do to accelerate your healing and get the most out of every treatment you receive is to consciously choose what you want to get out of that treatment.  The clearer your intention for each treatment, the better the results will be.  For example, if you are in pain, perhaps your intention is to reduce or eliminate the pain.  If you are already holding this clear intention, perhaps you will choose to expand on it by thinking and saying to yourself, “I want to be pain free all week, all year, for the rest of my life”!  If you are not really sure about what you want you can always hold the intention of openness, flexibility, and cooperation.  “I am open to healing, I am willing to shift and change in the direction of wellness, I’m open and willing to cooperate with any and all benefits this treatment is providing for me.  STOP, THINK, AND CHOOSE!  You have the power!

 

If you’re interested in learning more, stay tuned for further posts, and be sure to check our class schedule for free informative wellness talks. Jocelyn is available for acupuncture services at both the Marshfield and Colby locations throughout the week.

Why Am I Sick : The Root Cause of Illness and Disease

One of the top questions I am asked is: “Why?”  Why do I get sick? Why does my knee hurt?  Why do I get these headaches?  Why do I feel dizzy and nauseous?  Why am I so tired all of the time?  Why does my stomach hurt? Patients are often curious to find out why they are experiencing different symptoms in their body and they want to know if Oriental Medicine (acupuncture and herbs) can really help.  You may be surprised to find out that the root causes of all illness and disease can be summarized in a list less than ten items long.  You may also be surprised to find out that the root causes of illness and disease are the same for every form of health care.

Now before I let you in on the secret of what those root causes are, I want to take a moment to talk about how different forms of medicine approach health care.  If the causes of illness and disease are the same for every type of health care, then why are the treatments they employ so different?  All medicine is based on a fundamental world view that shapes how the human body is perceived and this perception drives the decisions of how the body will be cared for.  The philosophical world view behind Western Biomedicine is rooted in mechanistic dualism (made popular by Rene Descartes) and Darwinian Evolution.  What this means is that the body is viewed as a machine that is separate from the mind.  Oriental Medicine is primarily founded on Taoist philosophy of the unity of all things and the interaction of all things based on the principals of Yin and Yang.  Oriental medicine views the body like a garden or a forest where everything is interconnected.  This one fundamental philosophical difference (the body and mind are connected and each part is connected to each other part VS the body and mind are separate and each part of the body is separate) determine all the other choices one makes regarding health care.  If the body is one with the mind and it is formed perfectly with the intelligence to heal itself, then it makes sense to stimulate that innate healing ability and allow the brilliance of the body to bring itself back to a place of balance and wellness.

So, now comes the list that you have all been waiting for, the root causes of illness and disease:

  1. External invasion by bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are stronger than your personal immune system
  2. Trauma ( injuries, accidents, repetitive motion
  3. Abuse (physical, sexual, mental/emotional)
  4. Emotions (thoughts and feelings that haven’t been processed tend to get “stuck” in the system)
  5. Constitution (genetics combined with family environment)
  6. Diet (type, quality, and quantity of food being eaten)
  7. Sexual Activity (this can include sexually transmitted diseases and too much or too little can cause energetic imbalances)
  8. Toxicity (exposure to poisonous substances and or poor elimination processes in the body that cause toxic build up), and finally the newest cause of illness is
  9. Energetic Toxins ( electromagnetic radiation from power lines, computers, cell phones, tablets, etc.…)

From an Oriental Medicine perspective these root or core causes of illness and disease cause disruptions in the energetic communications system of the body as well as imbalances in the vital substances of the body (qi, blood, essence, yin, and yang).  Acupuncture and herbal therapy are the two primary ways of bringing the energetic system and vital substances back into balance and thereby reducing and eliminating illness and disease.  The two main therapeutic principles for healing and long term wellness revolve around nourishing the vital substances of the body and keeping them moving at a steady pace (not too quickly or too slowly).  When everything is well nourished and flowing well, we come to that place of wellness and bliss.

If you’re interested in learning more, stay tuned for further posts, and be sure to check our class schedule for free informative wellness talks. Jocelyn is available for acupuncture services at both the Marshfield and Colby locations throughout the week.

My Take On Acupuncture

Recently I was asked if I would like to blog, and I was very hesitant about it, but I agreed not knowing what I got myself into. After agreeing, I was asked to write a blog about acupuncture, a million thoughts came into my head regretting what I had just agreed to do.

“Oh no, what did I get myself into?!” “I’m a cosmetologist, I know nothing about acupuncture.”

But after thinking about it, the only thing I knew about acupuncture was the sticking of needles in your body. I had no idea why or where this idea came from. I had no idea what acupuncture is helpful for. So, I immediately got on the computer and started researching, and I was quite surprised as to what I found out. I hope you find my research as interesting as I did.

acupuncture

Acupuncture

Noun |ac·u·punc·ture|:  an originally Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points especially to cure disease or relieve pain

According to an ABC article, a growing number of Americans would prefer to stop popping pills and avoid going under the knife to treat a bum knee, achy lower back, or sore hip. Instead, they’re turning to the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture to help ease chronic joint pain. It’s based on the premise that a subtle life energy—or “qi |ch·ee|”—circulates through the 14 major energy channels of the body, known as meridians. The channels are like “roadways” that transport qi to every part of the body, including its internal organs and tissues.

Acupuncture is said to stimulate these meridian points by easing the pressure of the channels and correcting the body’s imbalances by allowing the qi to flow more freely.  Others believe that acupuncture merely stimulates the nerves causing them to release endorphins already found in the body. Elle Woods stated it best in the movie Legally Blonde, “Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t!” Endorphins act as a natural sedative and by stimulating the nerves and releasing these endorphins, patients begin to see a release in pain.

Originally acupuncture needles were not made of stainless steel but of stone, bamboo and bone. Today’s needles are extremely fine in diameter (about the thickness of two human hairs) and are sterile and disposable. So how does it work? Acupuncturists feel your pulse and look at your tongue to gain information about your state of health and plan a course of treatment. It is also highly individualized – for example, if 50 people with the common cold received acupuncture all 50 people could have different acupuncture points chosen as part of their treatment.

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in adults following surgery or taking chemotherapy and postoperative dental pain. It is also effective for

  • osteoarthritis
  • chronic headaches
  • back, neck, and shoulder pain

Practitioners (and patients) have also seen results with a wide range of conditions, including:

  • infertility
  • respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • side effects of chemotherapy
  • ADHD
  • mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

Personally I am afraid of needles, but if it could help my lower back pain, I will definitely give it a try.

Thanks for reading! I know I found my assignment to be quite eye opening and am glad I took the time to learn about this ancient healing art.

 

xoxo Kylie – Apprentice Stylist

Blogging for Back To Bliss’ Team Journal

Cilantro: An Amazing plant

Cilantro is an plant that grows worldwide and has some amazing health benefits.  Cilantro, or Coriandrum sativum, goes by many interchangeable names.  It is a member of the parsley family, Apiaceae, which gives us a hint as to why it is often called Mexican Parsley and Chinese Parsley. The parsley-like leaves are the main part we like to eat, but the seeds of the cilantro plant are a spice called coriander; hence the Latin name Coriandrum.  Coriander is a major spice in India where it makes up one of the three base spices for creating balanced and healthy curry: 3 parts coriander, 2 parts cumin, 1 part turmeric. I like to think that the confusion in naming this wonderful plant can be seen as a tribute to its wellness benefits.  If varied cultures across the globe have all found it useful for thousands of years, I feel like its worth taking some time to learn more about it myself.

Health benefits: Ancient and modern research both seem to point to several positive benefits of cilantro. Many of those benefits have to do with improving digestion, detoxification, and helping to process carbs and sugars throughout the body. In addition to aiding in these important functions, cilantro provides many valuable vitamins, antioxidants and essential oils.

For general use at home, it is most helpful as a nutrient filled cooling summer herb. Have you ever noticed that cilantro is very often included in salsas? The leaves aid digestion and increase pungency without increasing the acid levels of the salsa. They bring cooling energetic tones and flush out the taste profile of the salsa making it healthier and tastier.

Growing and Harvesting: Here are just a few tips to get you started with growing your own. We can grow it here in central Wisconsin easily, but if that’s not of interest to you, you can always pick it up at the local supermarket. Growing cilantro yourself keeps a steady and cheap supply available all summer long.

1: Scar the seeds a bit to improve the rate of germination; their husks are quite tough.

2: Plant it in cooler areas with semi shade to slow down the speed of bolting. Hot temperatures trigger it to change its growth pattern to making seeds instead of more delicious leaves.

3: A simple plan that includes multiple sowings and regular harvest can keep your cilantro habit going all summer. Try planting cilantro every 4-6 weeks. It only takes about 2 weeks after planting before you can harvest the leaves, so trim the plant heavily every 14-10 days to keep it providing lots of fresh leaves.

4: Most common pests will leave it alone, so the leaves are often very healthy and easy to prep for eating. The only issue is that they are often dusty and collect dirt, but that is easily remedied with washing.

Reflective Analysis: Understanding the Theory

One of the tenants of holistic health states that we are whole.  We are one unit, all together, with all of our specialized functions and diverse aspects of mind/body/spirit connecting and overlapping. However, the ‘whole’ of us is complicated beyond the capacity for us to know completely.  It’s much like astronomers telling us that there is a unique galaxy in the heavens for every grain of sand on a beach.  How can we possibly comprehend such vastness or complexity within ourselves? Well, the good news is that, just as we really don’t need to know the nature of the 75th galaxy to the right of mars, we can get by without all the overwhelming details of our own physiology and mind. While we don’t need to know all the details, it is helpful to know enough about our inner complexities to stay healthy and to keep us in harmony with our nature. But even that much requires methods of analysis that summarize our complexities and give us insights into our health that are accessible. One such method of summarization is called reflective analysis.

So what does this reflection idea really mean? It’s pretty simple. You are one whole unit. What happens to any part of you, happens to all of you.  If an emotional stress happens to you, say you have angry words with someone, then that emotional event sends changes through all of you.  And while the anger may originate as an emotion, it quickly becomes a physiological response: hormones released and increased heart rate etc…. Those words sit in your mind causing reactive thoughts and associations that change our future behaviors. Thus, I can find the emotional stress of the fight reflected throughout all of you – in your physical body, in your emotional space, and in your thoughts. You are one complete whole and thus the altercation happened to all parts of you.

Reflective analysis takes a cumulative snapshot of all the things happening to you and allows us to see reflections of those events in one part of the body. For example, by mastering the details of how different stresses send reflections onto your tongue, you can use tongue analysis to gain insight into the state of your health. The physical appearance of your tongue can tell you about the state of your organs.  You can see the health of your organs if you study what the reflections mean! This makes deep insights about our health as accessible as sticking your tongue out and looking into the mirror.

Some parts of our bodies are better at showing reflections than others. Thus, systems of analysis were only developed for those body parts that impart information easily. Next week we will explore some details of tongue and facial analysis to give more specific examples of how reflections are used.

Reflective Analysis: Playing With Details

Using reflections to analyze our state of health has been effectively used for thousands of years. Before we had MRI imaging and comprehensive blood tests, we had to rely on our own senses to gather data about our health. Today I thought we could look into the theory a bit deeper as a means to show just how strongly your heath reflects throughout your being.  We will use the tongue and face for our examples because both of these body parts are available for you to examine in your mirror every day.

Reflection Fact 1: Body parts that share similar functions and/or share close proximity reflect each other more readily. For example, the face reflects the emotional body very well because our facial muscles are directly involved in the communication of those emotions; they share connections of function. We have all heard of laugh lines and worry lines. Thinking deeper about this, you can see how a smile pulls our face muscles up.  If that pattern of smiling is repeated over and over the creases of that habitual emotion start to become etched into our face.  By the same token, stress and worry create lines in our skin above our forehead creating that wrinkled brow.  They also show energetic depletion in the form of black color around the eyes.  And while the two are not always connected, it’s a common sight to see someone stressed out from worry that looks pale, has deep creases in their forehead from intense worry, and has dark sunken circles around their eyes.

I like talking about facial analysis because it shows the reflections between layers of our being. The lines on our face reflect the habits of our emotion.  Very often we like to separate emotional health from physical or mental health. The emotional habits written on our face show us how inseparable mind/body/spirit/emotion are.

Reflection Fact 2: Coloration is one indicator to look for in your analysis. Healthy skin has a narrow range of hues. Typically when our skin hue becomes overly red, white, pale, or yellow it all indicates various dysfunctions or depletions. Take a look at your tongue in the mirror every day.  If there is lots of white buildup on the tongue it indicates stagnation in the GI tract. Overly red or purplish coloration on the tongue indicates you have, or on your way to having, an inflammatory condition.

If you are curious in learning more about facial or tongue analysis, I highly recommend finding some good books.  The truth is that these sciences are quite robust; I have a 350 page book just on tongue analysis sitting in front of me. The general public can find great use in them without complete mastery, and the best part is that all you need is some consistency of study and a mirror to gain access to some deep information on the state of your health.