Wellness Blog

Epigenetics: How Our Ancestors Life Experiences Still Impact Us Today

June 7, 2016 /

If you’ve studied remember anything about biology and genetics from your school days, you probably remember hearing that we are a mix of nature and nurture.

While it was originally believed that the nature part was just the DNA and RNA that we inherited from our parents, modern research is now showing us that we can actually inherit the impact of our ancestors experiences (unresolved traumas and old belief systems) and that those influences leave markers on our DNA. This new field of scientific study is called epigenetics.

Epigenetics courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

This new field of science is called epigenetics. What epigenetics means is that when our grandparents or great grandparents (or ancestors even further back in our family line) experienced a trauma, if they didn’t fully process and resolve/release that experience, it created what we call epigenetic markers on the DNA. These markers are like little padlocks on our DNA. The padlock holds something into a configuration where something that is needed (like a gene or a protein) isn’t available, or it IS available when it should not be.

While this padlock had a purpose for the ancestor (for example, if they experienced a major food shortage, this epigenetic marker could have helped them to survive by altering their metabolism), for those who have simply inherited the marker, it can cause health problems.

One example of this is the impact of the Dutch famine in 1944-1945 creating very limited food supplies for pregnant women at that time. There was a change an epigenetic change in the fetuses DNA (the IGF2 gene) which know makes those individuals prone to obesity and cardiovascular disease. Although it hasn’t been included in the research (that I know of), it is also likely that many of the children of these individuals also have inherited this epigenetic marker.

Current scientific understanding is that 70-95% of disease is epigenetic.

These epigenetic markers can increase the likelihood that at some point we will develop diseases like cancer, immune disease, diabetes, or mental illnesses like Schizophrenia, PTSD, or late onset Alzheimer’s.

While initially this sounds like BAD news because it is something that happened before we were born, the great news is that by using BodyTalk, these epigenetic markers, these “padlocks,” can be cleared from our DNA and so that wiring for disease can be cleared away. When these markers are highlighted to the brain during a session, they can simply be cleared away. The process can work for disease that a person is already experiencing OR for diseases that haven’t made their appearance on the scene yet!

 

Are you curious about how your ancestors lives are impacting your health? Sign up for a BodyTalk session today!

 

Fire Element Season: Summer Time

June 1, 2016 /

We are approaching the summer solstice (June 21) and entering the Fire Element Season according to the system of Chinese 5 Elements. For me, the summer heat can be difficult to deal with (summer is actually my least favorite season) so I thought I would share some thoughts about how to approach managing from this 5 Elements perspective.

Fire courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Before we dive into ways of dealing with the Fire Element, I want to just share briefly what this element represents.

The Fire Element energy is connected to the organ of the heart (hence the name of my business is Heart Fire Healing!). It is associated with the emotion of joy, which comes from having a good sense of who you are and your connection to something beyond yourself (whether for you that is God, Spirit, the Universe or something else). Joy comes from knowing who you really are on a deep level and loving yourself.

Fire Element time is about nurturing our creative energies and connecting to the abundance around us. 

The Fire Element and the heart are also connected to ALL of our emotions and it is important for our health and well-being to connect to all of our emotions, whether “positive” or “negative.” The Fire Element is also connected to love and romance.

So now that we’ve taken just a little bit of an overview of what the Fire Element represents, let’s dive into some simple strategies for keeping it from going into excess, especially during the summer heat.

  1. Bitter foods are good for the heart and the Fire Element. Try to include bitter greens like escarole, endive, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard in your diet. In addition, eating foods rich in carotenoids (red, yellow, and orange pigment) are great for the heart and the immune system.
  2. Work to reduce inflammation. Strategies to do this include avoiding inflammatory foods like sugar, fried foods, processed foods, and certain types of grains. Adding Omega-3s in your diet can also be helpful. Regular exercise and stress relieving activities (yoga, meditation, etc) are also beneficial. Making sure you are getting enough Vitamin D also helps to manage inflammation.
  3. Make sure to stay hydrated! You’ve probably heard this repeatedly but it is essential. Foods like watermelon can be both cooling and hydrating for the body and can be a great way to get in hydration if you don’t love drinking water.

I hope you found this post helpful to understand summer time from a 5 Elements perspective and that you have some simple strategies to help you keep in balancing during Fire Element time.

The Power of Slowing Down: Inspiration from Europe

May 23, 2016 /

I’m just back from an amazing honeymoon in Europe and am getting back into the swing of things. I wanted to share with you all a short video I made while there about what things about the European lifestyle inspire me (the key thing is slowing down!) and I hope will inspire you too!

Wood Element Time: Reviewing Your Day

April 27, 2016 /

Today, we conclude our journey through the Chinese Clock with bedtime, which corresponds to Wood Element Time and the Gall Bladder and Liver Meridians.

At 11PM, the energy begins to peak in the Gall Bladder Meridian. The Chinese view the Gall Bladder as responsible for decision making and courage. If you are still awake by 11PM, this decisive energy might continue to keep you awake, giving you a second wind that takes you into the wee hours. While some people thrive on this energy, our Gall Bladder functions best if we are asleep during this time.

Before going to bed, it can be helpful to set priorities for a new day and review the accomplishments, satisfactions, obstacles, and unfinished business of the day just past. Step back and look at the big picture. An emotional disturbance at this time can set off insomnia, indecision, feelings of loneliness, separation, anger or irritability directed at self or others.

Once we are asleep, we often have greater access to the world of the unconscious since the mind and senses are less engaged.

At 1AM, the energy enters the Liver Meridian and it is a good idea to be sound asleep by this time, at the latest because this is when the liver is going to sort out the priorities of the next day through the blood. If we are awake and not horizontal, the liver has a difficult time doing this. Think of the liver like a sponge which soaks up the body’s fluids. If we are quiet and horizontal, the liver can easily regather all the blood from the periphery.

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

As the liver absorbs the blood, it communicates directly with the blood and controls the volume circulating throughout the body. The liver is called the “General” and it sends messages to the rest of the body through the blood.

People with liver issues can often have their sleep be impacted. In addition, the emotion of anger, which is governed by the liver, can often disrupt sleep, particularly at 2AM when the spotlight is on the liver. If you tend to wake up at this time, you need to figure out what is going on (Is it physical, mental, or emotional? Did you drink too much alcohol before bed?) and then resolve the issue.

I hope you’ve found the journey through the Chinese Clock helpful to learning more about how to harmonize your daily cycle with your body’s energy cycle. Feel free to post questions or comments below!

Ministerial Fire Time: Happy Hour

April 20, 2016 /

Our journey through the Chinese Clock is now coming to evening, a time known as Ministerial Fire Time, when the energies peak in the Pericardium and Triple Heater Meridians.

Pericardium Time is often referred to as “Happy Hour,” the most social time of the day. This is a second Fire Element Time of our day (the only element that has 2 slots on the Chinese Clock) and it has the qualities of conviviality and good cheer.

Ministerial Fire Time courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Pericardium Time is one for candlelight, intimacy, and socializing and it is the best time of the day to make love. After our kidneys have rejuvenated themselves through resting and hydration, it is a fine time to enjoy ourselves and one another. We can often feel expansive, a free-flowingness of energy.

On a physical health level, Pericardium Time is a great time to address issues to do with the blood, like heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, chest tightness, and dizziness caused by blood or nutrient deficiency.

Then, at 9PM, the energy transitions into the Triple Heater Meridian. This meridian needs a little explanation for those not familiar with Chinese Medicine. In Chinese theory, we have 3 non-physical “burners” within us. The lower burner is in charge of kidney energy, the middle burner is in charge of the digestive system, and the upper burner is focused on the lung and heart. These 3 burners heat up the water in our bodies, steaming it and distributing it throughout. Energetically, this system is closely connected with our endocrine system.

During this Ministerial Fire Time, we should not be eating a big meal, as is often common in our culture. 

Emotionally, this time of day is all about laughter, humor, engagement, creativity, full experience and expression of our emotions, emotional healing, and sharp intellect. Imbalance during this time can show up as feelings of depression.

Next week, we will conclude our journey through the Chinese Clock with Wood Time, which corresponds to bedtime.

 

Weekly Inspiration: What’s Your Legacy?

April 18, 2016 /

Last week I went to a special celebration in honor of the retirement of my college mentor, advisor, and friend. I made a short video sharing with you about the experience and how it inspired me to think about what I want my legacy to be.

After you watch the video, I’d love for you to share in the comments a little bit about what you want your legacy to be!

Water Element Time: The Mid-Afternoon Lull

April 13, 2016 /

We are now halfway through our journey through the Chinese Clock and today we will dive into Water Element Time, which begins at 3PM when energy peaks in the Bladder Meridian.

Most people experience this shift into Water Element Time as a drop in energy and a time when we often crave a cup of coffee or an energy drink. This is because this is Kidney recovery time, when the kidneys go through their daily renewal. Although we may crave caffeine at this time, it is a very bad time to consume it. Our Kidneys represent our storehouse of energy and we do not want to exhaust that energy or we lose our vitality.

Water Element Time courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

The best thing to do during this time is to rest and to hydrate. Drink lots of pure, clean water with a focus on the water entering into the cells of your body. This will help your kidneys stay happy and you will sleep better at night because much of the cause of insomnia is actually dehydration. A power nap during this time will also help to replenish your Jing, or life force. This is why many cultures take an afternoon siesta.

The psychological and emotional tone of this time of day is prudence and retraction. We will feel a sense of purpose and willpower during this time of day and enjoy satisfaction in being alive and acceptance of things as they are. If our Water Element isn’t balanced, we will often feel fear, terror, irritation, or timidity during this time of day.

During Water Element Time, we also have a fluidity in response to circumstances and others. Taking our midday rest/quiet time can be used to focus our intent.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on Ministerial Fire Time and the Pericardium and Triple Heater Meridians!

 

Fire Element Time: The Peak of Your Day

April 6, 2016 /

I hope you’ve been enjoying our journey through the Chinese Clock and learning more about our various times in our daily cycle. Today, we dive into Fire Element Time, which focuses on energy peaking in the Heart and Small Intestine Meridians.

Fire Element time begins at 11AM, when the energy begins to enter the Heart Meridian channel. The Fire Element is all about energies peaking in the body, much like the sun peaks at mid-day.

Fire Element courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Studies show that close to 70% of heart attacks happen between 11AM and 1PM. Because the focus is now on the heart, this is a period of time when excess conditions of the heart (like coronary artery disease) are usually the most symptomatic. When the arteries (or even the emotions) of the heart are blocked, the heart is most vulnerable around midday. The heart is also vulnerable to heart attacks at the opposite side of the Chinese Clock, Gall Bladder time, which is from 11PM to 1AM.

Emotionally, Heart Time is a great time to focus on opening your heart, allowing it to express love and compassion for everything and every one. It is a wonderful time to find resonance and empathy with others. An unbalanced or blocked heart can be dominated by the emotions of extreme sadness or extreme joy.

At 1PM, the energy shifts out of the Heart Meridian and into the Small Intestine Meridian. This is a great time to eat lunch, which in many cultures is actually the main meal of the day.

The Small Intestine energy is about absorption- both of food and of our daily life experiences. It has the job of separating pure from impure, with what is “pure” being taken into the kingdom of the heart and what is “impure” being taken to the colon to be eliminated.

Small Intestine Time is a good time of day for group projects and cooperative ventures, as well as to elect priorities and to share information. We can often brainstorm and problem-solve well with others at this time.

Next week, we will dive deeper into Water Time and the Kidney and Bladder Meridians.

Earth Time: Digestion

March 30, 2016 /

Last week we learned about the Metal Element and the Lung and Large Intestine on the Chinese Clock. This week we dive into Earth Element Time and the Stomach and Spleen Meridians.

At 7AM, Earth Element time begins and until 11AM, the spotlight is on our digestive system. This is when energy is most available to digest our food! However, people who have digestive problems or people with weight issues tend not to eat during this time, contributing to the persistence of these issues.

Earth Element courtesy freedigitalphotos.netProperly nourishing ourselves between 7 and 11AM will help set the appetite and sequence for digestion for the entire day, making it very important to eat your breakfast. The best type of food to eat at this time is warm meals that are high in nutrition. Not eating at this time contributes to metabolism not working properly- meaning it goes into starvation mode because your body is hungry.

In our modern world, there is a tendency not to eat a large lunch because we are busy working, so we eat something small and do so quickly. This contributes to getting to dinner time VERY hungry and then we tend to binge on food because our bodies are starved for nutrition.

In addition to helping us digest food, Earth Element time is about assimilating life. Stomach issues are often connected to not being able to “stomach something” in our lives.

After Stomach time comes Spleen Time, beginning at 9am. The function of the Spleen Meridian is to distribute the elements of nutrition to their proper destinations throughout the body, as well as to contain and compartmentalize the constituents of our diet (sugars, fats, and proteins) in their appropriate metabolic sequence.

From a psychological and emotional point of view, Earth Element Time is about a calm, centered approach to the opportunities on our immediate horizon. This is a great time of the day to consider new ideas or projects before taking action on them. If the Earth Element is out of balance, we will experience feelings of disgust, despair, or low self-esteem.

This time of day is characterized by intelligence blended with understanding and an appreciation for the sweetness of another day and of life itself.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog, when we dive into Fire Time and the Heart and Small Intestine Meridians!

 

Metal Time: Meditation and Reflection

March 23, 2016 /

Last week’s blog post was an introduction to the Chinese Clock, a daily cycle of energy through the meridians that helps to govern our daily rhythm. Today, we dive deeper into Metal Element Time, which represents when energy peaks in the Lung and Large Intestine Meridians.

The daily energy cycle starts at 3am with Lung Time. The lungs are called a “reactive” organ because of their relationships with the environment. We breathe in the world/life as we breathe in air. If there is a toxin or allergen present, the lungs and upper respiratory system react immediately, resulting in things like runny nose, cough, wheezing. or hives. When the lungs work well, we can fully inhale and exhale.

Metal Element courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

The lungs are about more than just reactivity, though. They are also about vitality because as they disperse air and energy throughout the body, they energize the entire meridian system. In Chinese medicine, it is said that the lungs are responsible for dispersing Qi, so without the action of the lungs, there is no Qi distribution.

The lungs also help us process sadness and grief. If you find yourself waking up between 3am and 5am, you might be struggling to process sadness or grief or you might have a lung condition.

At 5am, the energy moves from the Lungs to the Large Intestine Meridian, rising to its peak at 6AM. This is the best time of the day to move the bowels, as well as to wash your body and to comb your hair (some say combing the hair clears stuck energy from the mind). In addition, the Large Intestine Meridian is about letting go. Letting go is not just about eliminating biological waste but also letting go of things like letting go of our emotions. If things are out of balance, emotions of defensiveness or feelings of being stuck could arise.

Metal Element Time is a time for quiet reflection and/or restful sleep. Some people like monks will actually get up around 4am to begin to meditate as this time has been proven good for such activity.

A healthy and balanced person is focused, has a sharp memory, and finds strength in solitude at this time of the day. In addition, a person who is well-balanced within Metal processes grief and loss appropriately.

Metal Element Time also represents maximum contraction (Winter is Metal time on an annual cycle). At this time in the daily cycle, the heart rate, breathing, and brain activity have been shown to dip significantly.

I hope you’ve found this week’s post about Metal Element Time useful in beginning to understand your body’s daily cycle.