Ensō (円相)

The District- Juana MedinaEnsō (円相) is a Japanese word meaning “circle” and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Ensō is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void; it can also symbolize the Japanese aesthetic itself. As an “expression of the moment” it is often considered a form of minimalist expressionist art.
 In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. The brushed ink of the circle is usually done on silk or rice paper in one movement (Bankei, however, occasionally used two strokes) and there is no possibility of modification: it shows the expressive movement of the spirit at that time. Zen Buddhists “believe that the character of the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ensō. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true ensō. Some artists will practice drawing an ensō daily, as a kind of spiritual practice- Wikipedia
Thank you Juana Medina for such eloquent hand and gentle spirit!
-published with authorization from the artist
Posted in community acupuncture

Getting over the Sugar Blues

We had a great gathering last week for our first nutrition workshop, dealing with the Sugar Blues!

Holistic Health Coach Felicia Desrosiers engaged participants and gave us her top ten tips for getting over the Sugar Blues. Here we share them with you:


  1. Drink water. Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration.
  2. Eat sweet vegetables and fruit everyday. Especially the sweet vegetables. The more you cook them, the sweeter they become. They gently support your spleen and pancreas and over time change your taste for sweet foods.
  3. Reduce or eliminate caffeine. The ups and downs of caffeine include de-hydration and blood sugar swings, which can cause sugar cravings.
  4. Use gentler sweeteners like maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, and dried fruit. Avoid chemicalized, artificial sweeteners and food with sugar added.
  5. Move your body! Find your daily minimum – it can be a ten minute walk or yoga. Once you have a rhythm going, build on it. Exercise relieves the tension that many of us look to sugar for, and it’s great on every level.
  6. Get enough sleep and rest. Accumulated late nights and early mornings and/or regular stress causes the body to crave energy – often in the form of sugar.
  7. Evaluate the amount of animal food you eat including meat, dairy, chicken and eggs. Eating too much can lead to sweet cravings. So can eating too little!
  8. Cook meals, use spices. Sometimes we eat sugar because we are eating on the run and it’s what is available. If this is happening regularly, look to build in some cooking time so you can be sure to fill up on real food.
  9. Chew your food – the savory, the sweet and everything in between. Thoroughly chewing our food facilitates digestion and forces us to slow down. A good many things get sorted out when enough time is allotted. Give your food time.
  10. Add non-food sweetness to your days! Your body does not biologically need sugar, but it does long for hugs, time with friends, time outside, exercise, massage, acupuncture, etc. Start today. 🙂
Posted in Food + wellness, Our blog

Ginger root and acupuncture for seasonal allergies

Autumn is a wonderful time of transition, but challenges many with allergies. In addition to regular acupuncture to help harmonize your lung qi, manage or get rid of seasonal allergies and sinus congestion, here is a recipe that helps fortify your lung energetics, warms and moistens your lungs while the cool and dryness of autumn settles in. Ginger root also helps balance the digestive system – this is very important as many allergies are rooted in digestive issues.
Ginger tea/tonic: take a piece of ginger root, smash the root whole, or slice it thinly and boil it in a large pot of water for 25 minutes. You may also add lemon juice to stimulate the liver and the smooth flow of defensive qi, and add a little honey to stimulate the spleen and the digestive system. Drink a least 3 cups of this delicious beverage a day.
While your tea is boiling, take advantage and put a towel over your head and inhale some of the steam. To help clear the sinuses even further, you can massage the muscular area on the top of your hand where your thumb and index finger intersect and apply acupressure to acupuncture points at the base of either side of your nostrils.
Posted in community acupuncture, Food + wellness, Seasonal


The proper response to conflict, whether it lies within or without, is disengagement.

Conflict provokes strong feelings of doubt, fear, anxiety and impatience to resolve the situation. If you act upon the influence of these inferior emotions, you will severely complicate the misfortune. By following the prescription of the Sage and returning to a position of neutrality, acceptance and detachment;you are able to meet opposing forces halfway: not recoiling in anger and condemnation, not pressing forward for some unnatural change in things, but waiting calmly in the center until the Higher power provides the correct solution.

The I CHING teaches us that all conflict is, in the end, inner conflict. When you see it beginning you’re obliged not to pursue it.

Posted in community acupuncture

preparing for autumn equinox

It’s a month away, but we will reap the benefits of feeling great come autumn, by what we do today. Our health next season, is determined in great part by how we take care of ourselves now. Drink plenty of water, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and, keep the intestinal flow moving! Moving our bowels daily and fully is key to a strong immune system. You can give yourself a belly massage in bed before you fall asleep, and/or when you wake, before getting  out of bed.

How to do it: Imagine your belly button is the center of a clock. Three finger widths away from your navel, press and gently massage this acupuncture points around the clock,  1, 2, 3 o’clock (clockwise). Then take both hands and smooth everything down from the bottom of your ribs down your abdomen.

Acupuncture works very well to stimulate the bowels, helps the body eliminate toxins and supports your body’s ability to self regulate.

Posted in community acupuncture

Acupuncture for healthy boundaries

The five elements of nature : wood, fire, earth,metal and water, are represented in our bodies and each have a virtue to teach us. The earth element teaches us about boundaries and limits, much like frontiers and border-lines. The stomach and spleen represent the earth in our body and are responsible for the integrity of our membranes and connective tissue as well as the sharpness and acuteness of our thinking process. Our ability to maintain and set healthy boundaries is nourished by the health of our digestive system. We may not understand all the details, but there is common understanding that too much worry or over thinking, can hurt the stomach, to the point of developing gastritis or even ulcers. These are physical manifestations of broken boundaries. Over thinking or obsessing over anything without resolution or completion, can actually cause the linings of our physical body to dissolve! Moderation with food and drink, and discipline of the mind are keys to maintaining a healthy earth element.
Some foods tend to be comforting to our earth (spleen, pancreas and stomach)- sweets, dairy, pastries and breads,and alcohol to name a few, have great potential to dampen our earth element, weakening our boundaries. This in turn, weakens our digestion. Weak digestion makes it is possible for conditions such as hernias, hemorrhoids, organ prolapses, nose bleeds, easy bruising, difficulty focusing, obsession and over thinking and excess worrying, to result in tremendous physical and mental fatigue. These issues can be the result of long term over-consumption of some of these dampening foods.
Acupuncture, together with dietary moderation are powerful ways to reestablish the integrity of organ membranes and sharpness of the mind.  Next time you’re craving something you know you don’t need, think: Acupuncture.
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Posted in community acupuncture, Earth, Five elements

the calmest revolution

This is a great half hour documentary on how community acupuncture began:

community acupuncture


Posted in community acupuncture

Blood houses the spirit, acupuncture frees it


Memories constantly circulate through our bodies. All experiences we have in life are written in our blood and move along our blood vessels and meridians. Acupuncture Theory says ” blood houses the spirit”. Every single thing you’ve seen, heard, felt, eaten, thought, done, not done or undone has affected and shaped your life and the life of others. Some of these memories come from our ancestors, some will go to our predecessors. We transform these experiences into new memories as we live our lives.
We can actually change the past by creating a different relationship to it, by remembering it differently, or letting go of it. Often acupuncturists will want to let a drop of blood out of an acupuncture point or channel (blood-let) in order to clear some stagnant blood -clean filters from harsh experiences so to speak, to allow you to physically let go of some of those old moments that may be slowing you down in your process of evolution and transformation.
Feel free to move on Acupuncture!

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Posted in community acupuncture

Mythological strength is found in our feet

The Achilles tendon is the strongest of all tendons in our bodies. Right at the ankle, one of the most powerful Acupuncture points-the Source point of the Kidney channel is found. With no effort, our whole body weight can be uplifted from standing by simply flexing one of our feet. Our Kidneys house our constitutional energy. Our Kidneys support our stands in life, they support all our bone structure too. A very interesting observation of foot reflexology, is that the plantar arch has the same curvature of our spine. Hence flat feet often come together with back pain. Back pain, weak knees, joint discomfort, fatigue, frequent urination among other conditions benefit from regular Acupuncture treatments by strengthening our stands and consolidating our Kidney energetics.

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Posted in community acupuncture

Ear acupuncture

Our ears are a reflections of our Kidneys, they are shaped like kidneys. Our kidneys are said to be our seeds of life. Our constitutional Qi (Yuan Qi) resides in the Kidney. If we were plants, you would plant a couple of kidneys and 9 months later a baby would sprout. The ear has the shape of an upside down fetus. In auricular acupuncture – ear acupuncture, you acupuncturist can locate all parts of your body. The ear is very sensitive and receptive to stimulation, including pressure. For those who dislike needles, some children for instance, ear acupressure is super effective!

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Posted in community acupuncture