You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2008.

We all know that exercise helps, but according to a short article titled You Name It, and Exercise Helps It in the New York Times, “People with chronic health problems can improve their health and quality of life by learning how to exercise safely.”

“The data show that regular moderate exercise increases your ability to battle the effects of disease,” Dr. Moffat said in an interview. “It has a positive effect on both physical and mental well-being. The goal is to do as much physical activity as your body lets you do, and rest when you need to rest.”

The reality of life is that we’re busy and that squeezing in exercise can be a challenge at times.  I like to walk, and because I live in a city, there are many places I can walk easily.  Therefore, I like to integrate errands with walking briskly.  I finish an errand, get some exercise, and keep my car off the road.  Productivity and goodness for my health as well as the environment.  Win-win-win.

With that thought, I’ll pack up to walk to the post office now.

As some of you know, I live in San Francisco, and there’s been lots of talk and angst about the Olympic torch running here.  I have mixed feelings about China and its human rights violations, Tibet, Darfur… within the context of the excitement of the Olympics.

olympic torch 1

Well, I just jumped on the excitement bandwagon by running down four blocks to see the Olympic torch go by!

Fortunately I was at the beginning of the new “decoy” route, so was standing right by it.  There were some protesters shouting their cause and holding up signs, but mostly bystanders who were excited and supportive.

A couple of photos here; the torch bearers are wearing red/white running suits.  I think the woman with her eyes closed is blind; she has her left hand on the arm of the man to her left.

UPDATE: Based on info on all the torchbearers, I believe this torchbearer is Jessica Lorenz of Berkeley, who is “a blind person and 2008 Paralympian who has worked continually to improve her game and spread the Paralympic message of inclusion to disabled and non-disabled people alike”.

olympic torch 2

You can see in the second photo one torch bearer waving, and her partner (all the torch bearers are running in pairs) holding the touch with flame.  You can see the police on foot, motorcycle.

The Fire Element in Traditional Chinese Medicine is related to passion and joy and enthusiasm.  (The color of fire is red, so the red running suits are appropriate, too.)  Certainly my experience of this Olympic event has been on the positive side of the Fire Element.

But there are thousands of people–supporters, protesters, curious–who have been waiting along the official route who have been and will be mightily disappointed.  Some will no doubt be experiencing the Fire when it is out of balance: feelings of aggression and impatience.

Do you suffer from chronic constipation?  Or have some times when you’re not so regular?  In addition to eating a balanced diet with fiber (cut down on sweets), getting exercise and drinking plenty of water, try these acu-points.

You can try any one, or go through all of them.  Especially if you have chronic constipation, spending 5 minutes every day holding these points can be helpful. Sit in a comfortable position, and pay attention to your breath — deep and slow — while you hold the points.

Hoku, Large Intestine 4

LI4 demo1  This is considered the number one point for dealing with constipation.  You can experiment with the length of time and the strength of the holding.  Try rubbing in a circular motion, palpating it, even thumping it with a knuckle.  The length of time you need to hold it to feel its effectiveness will vary by person.  Try both hands, and be sure to take breaks so that the hand that’s holding doesn’t get tired.  Get detailed instructions here. NOTE: Do not use this point on pregnant women.

Crooked Pond, Large Intestine 11

LI11 hold

This point doesn’t require much pressure.  Rub this point in a circular motion, and you may feel relief during an uncomfortable bowel movement.  Get detailed instructions here.


This is a couple fingers width below your bellybutton, where you “belly” is.  This is considered your “center”, the place from which you find balance.  So imagine the unbalance when you’re constipated or otherwise uncomfortable in your digestive system.  Just putting some attention to the hara can bring comfort.  Gently rest the palm of your hand on your belly, and breathe slowly and deeply.  Try gentle clockwise circles around your hara, too, to support movement in your bowels.  Get detailed instructions here.