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I was scheduled to teach an acupressure wellness class at Elephant Pharmacy tonight. What a shock to receive a message early this morning that Elephant has closed.

I taught classes there for over three years, and really appreciated the chance to teach acupressure wellness to the Elephant community.

Hip Hip Hooray for Elephant! May another pharmacy that “prescribes yoga” return to our community soon.

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I can’t say enough about how useful tennis balls are for dealing with shoulder pain.  (Watch the video here.)And I’ve recently become a convert to tennis balls to help with sore feet, especially as people ask about dealing with foot soreness, ankle pain and issues like Plantar faciaitis.

Just as you would use a tennis ball (or two) to relieve tension in the upper back/shoulders, you can do the same with the feet.

  • Take a used tennis ball, and put it in a sock.  You can use the tennis ball alone, but I think the sock helps keep the ball from rolling around.
  • Before starting, stand in your socks or bare feet on a flat surface, and check in with how your feet feel.  Notice any discomfort.
  • Sit down in a chair that allows you to sit straight, with both feet on the floor.
  • Start by rolling the tennis ball under that foot that is bothering you (or bothering you more).  Roll the ball slowly–ball of foot, arch and heel areas– , and notice if there are any places where it feels especially good, and stop at those points for a few deep breaths.  If you feel any pain, stop.
  • If you think your foot can bear more pressure, take your foot off the ball, and stand up.  Roll the ball under your foot again; this time put as much weight on the ball as feels like a good massage.  Take a few deep breaths as you bear your weight on the ball.  Touch a wall or furniture if you need for balance.  If you feel any pain, stop.
  • Take your foot off the ball, and once again stand with both feet on the floor.  Notice how you feet feel, compared to before, and compared to each other.  The foot you just massaged with the ball should feel flatter on the floor.
  • Sit back down and do the same with your other foot.  Even if you don’t have discomfort in that foot, or think it needs a massage, spend at least a minute to roll the ball under it.  Following the principle of yin/yang, it’s always a good idea to give attention to the other side.  You’ll likely feel that the other foot feels flatter on the floor, too.

If you’re at home and have the time, you can follow up by giving both feet a massage with your hands.

If you want to get the benefit of this at work, take a tennis ball and roll it under your feet while you work.  You can do it while you’re working, or dedicate a few minutes to the above exercise.  Your feet, the rest of you body, and your mind will thank you for the brief but effective break.

You are encouraged you to seek the advice of a qualified health care provider for questions about a medical condition.

TENNIS BALL TRICK? A tennis ball can reduce stress and fatigue, as well as address shoulder and neck issues

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1108085&dest=-1]

This is part of Elephant Pharmacy’s Share the Wellth program.  To leave a comment or a question about this tip, click here.

See more videos.

A few days ago, I talked with a mother of a 7-year-old boy who has experienced a great deal of anxiety in situations that are new: places, people, scenarios.

This mom told me that what has really helped him cope better is the simple — yet not always easy — act of deep breathing.  She was shocked to learn that indeed, her son didn’t know how to breathe deeply.  His breath was extremely shallow.

Here is how she has helped him to learn to breathe more deeply.

  • He lies down, and she places a book on his tummy — right on top of the bellybutton is a good marker.
  • He is encouraged to take a breath that’s deep enough (to fills the belly) and make the book go up.
  • This mom also used her hand, instead of a book. She placed her hand firmly on her son’s tummy so that he felt the resistance and could breath into her hand.  This is probably a great step to take when deep breathing is difficult to attain at first.

The new school year has started, and this deep breathing has helped a 7-year-old make that transition with greater comfort.

How could it help you or a child or adult you know?  You can do this yourself, either lying down, or sitting up or standing, with your hand on your belly.

I’ve spent the last few days in a hospital, while a family-member had surgery and has been recovering.  This is a relatively new hospital, so it looks more like a nice hotel with its grand entry, “concierge-like” welcome desks, and comfortable furniture.  (They also have a great Au Bon Pain that is open 24 hours!)

Healthy tools available at the bottom of the kiosks: Face Masks, Facial Tissues and Alcohol Handy Wipes

One of the first things I noticed in the waiting areas were the Keep Everyone Healthy kiosks (pictured at right.)  These reminded me of an article I read a while back (Selling Soap) about how the risk of catching an infection IN a hospital is quite high, and that’s because the hospital staff doesn’t wash its hands enough.  The article talked about Cedars-Sinai Hospital in LA that had a successful campaign to encourage hospital staff to wash their hands more. 

I wondered whether these Keep Everyone Healthy kiosks were part of a larger push at the hospital to include everyone in the community.  Certainly, I have been a part of the hospital community for the better part of the past week, and I appreciated having the tissues there in the waiting room.  I saw some other folks go over and pick up a wipe or a tissue, too.  Though I have yet to see any face mask takers.

I have no doubt that seeing the kiosks in the waiting area has influenced my thinking about the importance of sanitation within other parts of the hospital; namely the rooms where patients are recovering.  There are signs all over the place that emphasize the importance of wearing gloves and washing hands before and after patient contact. 

I haven’t been keeping an eagle eye on the staff, but I can say that norm is for doctors/nurses/technicians to either put on new gloves, wash their hands or use a sanitizing gel when they walk in the room, and throw out the gloves or wash their hands on the way out.  It helps that each private room has a washing sink in the entry area, gloves are provided in three sizes, and there’s one sanitizing gel inside the door and another outside the door.

They have made it Simple and Easy to do this simple but effective community health safety step.  In my short tenure at the hospital, it’s become a habit!

So taking this out of the hospital, I’d like to think about what steps I can take to make hand-hygiene more of a routine for me, whether I’m at home or outside.  Some things come to mind:

  • Make an effort to wash my hands before each meal–especially when I’m eating out–and after I’ve used public transport or have shaken a lot of hands.  Also, after I get home from a day out. Do this enough, and it becomes a habit.
  • Increase this if I think I am getting sick, or have a cold.
  • Carry something like Purell hand sanitizer in my bag, as a backup.

Here’s a post from earlier about hand-washing, including a tip on how to know you’re washing long enough.

The class is being offered by one of my teachers at the Acupressure Institute, Anasuya Batliner.  I took her class on Women’s Health Issues there, and learned a great deal from this gifted teacher.

Yin, Yang, Qi & Blood: Phases of a Woman’s Month

September 3, 7pm – 8pm
a free teleclass
with Anasuya Batliner, NC, Dipl. ABT, CST, My Body Wisdom
for anyone interested in acupressure and women’s health

The energies of Yin, Yang, Qi and Blood naturally ebb and flow through the weeks of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Learn to support this rhythm with appropriate acupressure points, foods, and activities for each phase.

-Increase fertility
-Reduce PMS
-Ease menstrual cramps

This free teleclass gives you a preview of the Women’s Health Issues class taught by Anasuya, September 16-17 from 9am – 4pm at The Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, California.

To register for the free teleclass email Anasuya directly at anasuya@mybodywisdom.net. You will be given a conference phone number and PIN number to join the call.

A student in a class recently asked about acupressure points to address dry eyes.  While factors such as diet, stress, and other health issues can cause or exacerbate dry eye, there are some points–directly around the eye–that may be helpful.

Before you start, wash your hands well with soap.  Then sit in a comfortable chair, with your feet flat on the floor.  Experiment with using your right hand or left hand, or both; whichever is comfortable for you.  Also, whether it is the right or left eye which is dry, try the acupressure on both eyes.

When you hold the points–which I will describe shortly–use your index finger or middle finger, and gently place it on the point.  There is no need to apply pressure; simply placing a finger in a relaxed manner will be effective.  Take a deep breath, as you hold each point. 

The points. There are three points, which are around the eye, as you see in the image.  They are the same on each eye.(My drawing–which I hope conveys the basic concept of the eye to you!–is of the left eye, as you look toward it.)  I’ve included the meridian point name, as well as the names translated from Chinese; some are more poetic than others.

  • Bladder 1 (Eyes Bright): This point is on the inside corner of the eye, where it meets your nose.
  • Stomach 1 (Tear Container): Directly below your pupil, this point is on the ridge of the bone around the eye.
  • Gallbladder 1 (Pupil Bone Hole): On the outside corner of the eye socket.

A recommended routine for these three points is to start by placing a fingertip on the Bladder 1 point.  Take five (5) deep breaths as you hold your finger there.  Remember to keep your shoulder and arm relaxed as you do this.  Next move your finger to the Stomach 1 point, and hold for five deep breaths.  Finally, move to the outer corner of your eye at the Gallbladder 1 point, and hold for five deep breaths.  Repeat this on the other eye.  If it’s comfortable, you can hold the points on both eyes at the same time.  Start out with one round of holding these points, then increase daily to about five minutes total, if that is comfortable. 

Acupressure can be effective when you practice it on a regular basis.  So try this routine once or twice a day at a regular time.  After you get up in the morning, and before you go to bed are often times when it’s easier to develop a regular routine.

You are encouraged you to seek the advice of a qualified health care provider for questions about a medical condition.

I realize that quitting a long-term smoking habit can be a huge endeavor.  Once in a while I’ll meet someone who quit cold turkey, but that is likely an exception to the rule.

The thing about any habit is that it’s familiar and comfortable, so letting go of it is a difficult thing to do.

Therefore, the LETTING GO point is a wonderful point to hold, if you are thinking about or working on quitting smoking.  It’s a great point to use on a friend of relative who is going through this, too.  Fittingly, it’s the first point on the Lung meridian, so while it’s really helpful for letting go in many areas of life, it’s so appropriate for letting go of something that pertains to the Lungs. 

To learn more about this point, see this post.

Craving ZZZS? The right points can help with insomnia.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1117168&dest=-1]

This is part of Elephant Pharmacy’s Share the Wellth program.  To leave a comment or a question about this tip, click here.

See more videos.

Last night, I just had to have a scone.  Just HAD to.  I found this post with recipe online, halved it, used regular milk instead of cream, and raisins instead of currants.  Wow!  Sooner than I would have imagined, I had amazingly fluffy scones. YUM!

This morning, in a fit of contemplation, I thought to myself, “What is this pastry–sweet and fatty–craving?”

AHA!  It’s about that time when I get my PMS symptoms.  Either I’m really tired or feel like I’m going to catch a cold, or want to eat lots and lots of butter.  I happened to be sitting cross-legged on the floor, so I put my index finger on the Three Yin Intersection acu-point, on my lower leg.  And immediately, I took a nice deep long breath.  Like a sigh of relief.  Ahhhhhh.

It’s so easy to forget.  I do all the time.  And if I took a moment to reflect and test out some acu-points, before reaching for the scone (or croissant or cookie), I might get some longer-lasting relief.

Anyway, wanted to share that with you.  But since I like to look for a silver lining in each cloud, I am thrilled that I’ve come across such an easy and yummy scone recipe!