Friday, October 16, 2009

Open House Tonight!!

Apologies to our readers, but this is why we've been MIA from the blog.

We'd love it if you can make it tonight!

Where: 11965 Venice Boulevard, Suite 207
Los Angeles, CA 90066

When: 7-9 pm

What: Please join us for drinks and snacks and to celebrate the Grand Opening of our brand new clinic.

See you there!
Jonah and Nini

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cycles: Pi, Phi, Fibonacci, and the Yi Jing

Fascinating fascinating fascinating story in the New Yorker this week. It uses a profile of financial trader Martin Armstrong to explore the idea of cycles as they apply to historical, political and economic events (Armstrong predicted, to the day, the stock market crash of October 1987). The article does a wonderful job of exploring the many different types of cycles and their various proponents, but ends up portraying Armstrong as a bit of a nutjob.

(Which is probably the safe route. As the article itself notes, financial traders who use the idea that financial markets move according to fixed cycles, rather than the idea that the market is relatively unpredictable, generally don't talk about it in public. "'It's too embarrassing to explore in modern economics,' another trader said. 'These topics are not fit for polite conversation in most circles.'" I suppose if the writer had appeared to take this Armstrong character more seriously, he might have risked looking crazy himself. This is also a very interesting phenomenon, but I'll have to save it for another day...)

How does this relate to Chinese medicine? Chinese medicine is part of an epistemological system that incorporates many different philosophies from different periods of Chinese history. Part of the genius of Chinese society is that instead of discarding old systems and modes of thought (philosophical, mathematic, scientific) for new, the old is built upon and improved. The very very oldest system that Chinese medicine (and by extension, all Chinese philosophy) relies upon is the Yi Jing (aka I Ching), which is essentially a forecasting tool.

The Yi Jing is both very simple and very complex. (I'm hardly qualified to write on the subject - if you're seriously interested, please consult your local library, bookstore or website.) A series of eight trigrams represent all the phenomena in the universe, and by putting two together you get a hexagram. The hexagram can then be interpreted in various ways to give you guidance on a present situation or future event. There's actually a whole branch of Chinese medicine which incorporates the Yi Jing into treatment.

Cycles are found everywhere in nature. What is the most obvious? The cycle of day and night, sun and moon. After that, the cycle of the four seasons. Most people never go beyond this. But suppose it was possible to observe a longer cycle? A cycle of eight years, or twelve, or sixty, or a hundred and eight? Natural cycles come and go, and staying in harmony or "going with the flow" of the seasonal universal energy is an excellent way to maintain and improve your health. Some of these practices come naturally, such as wearing more clothes in winter and less in the summer. Many have been largely forgotten and seem anachronistic in the modern world, which some scientists still maintain is governed purely by matter and not energy. After all, why not drink ice-cold water with your meal? The more esoteric require some calculation and the services of an expert, such as picking an auspicious date for opening a business or the right spot for building a home.

I'm not good at ending these posts. It's a great article, and whoever runs has posted the full New Yorker profile (pdf) on their website. Take a look. Then learn more about the Yi Jing.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Run Barefoot!

I'm going to try this... as soon as I can find a place to run that is relatively free of glass and/or dog poop... so it may be awhile.

Runners are baring their very soles - L.A. Times
Running Barefoot

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Bruxism, aka teeth-grinding, is on the rise. A New York dentist noticed:

One of his patients lost hundreds of thousands of dollars invested with Bernard L. Madoff. Another reported that he had lost a job with a seven-figure salary. A third, a single mother with a floral design business on Long Island, said she was working twice as hard for half as much.

“All three are grinders, directly affected by what’s going on out there,” Dr. Butensky said, gesturing outside his Midtown office window.

For the L.A. perspective, let's talk to Dr. Alex Rivkin of Westside Aesthetics:

“For, I’d say, 85 percent of the people who come to me complaining about headaches, jaw soreness and pain, Botox injections into the masseter muscle on both sides of the face is the answer.”

If you're not keen on getting botulism toxin injected into your face, try acupuncture. Acupuncture is especially effective for teeth-grinding, as it can not only relax the jaw muscles but also deal with the root causes.

Full article: When Stress Takes a Toll on Your Teeth


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Doctor Steven Park

Here's an interesting website - He's one of those open-minded western-trained doctors. Much of what he says in this article about anti-aging medicine resonates with me -

Here’s my personal advice – do what feels right. If you truly believe in something, do it with all your might. Science actually invalidates one individual’s experiences and can only generalize based on large population studies. Since everyone responds differently, your only way to know whether or not it’s going to work is to try it (within reason, of course). Rather than trying to exclude the placebo effect that most studies try to do, take advantage of your body’s natural ability to heal itself, no matter which option you choose.

However, realize that that one pill, supplement or exercise regimen is not going to make you younger. Eventually, something will work for you, but without changing your mindset and daily habits, your health problems will return and you’ll be back to square one.

For some reason he reminds me of Doctor Pai. I don't know why. Maybe it's the tie?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Now, Let Me Tell You About My Appendectomy in Peking...

Many people have heard of the 1971 New York Times article by James Reston about his experience with acupuncture in his recovery from an emergency appendectomy. Reston was in China at the time, which was quite unusual in the first place. In 1971 China was in the grip of the Cultural Revolution, and very few foreigners were allowed into the country. He had an appendectomy the standard biomedical way, but for post-surgical pain was treated with acupuncture and moxibustion:

However, I was in considerable discomfort if not pain during the second night after the operation, and Li Chang-yuan, doctor of acupuncture at the hospital, with my approval, inserted three long thin needles into the outer part of my right elbow and below my knees and manipulated them in order to stimulate the intestine and relieve the pressure and distension of the stomach.

That sent ripples of pain racing through my limbs and, at least, had the effect of diverting my attention from the distress in my stomach. Meanwhile, Doctor Li lit two pieces of an herb called ai, which looked like the burning stumps of a broken cheap cigar, and held them close to my abdomen while occasionally twirling the needles into action.

All this took about 20 minutes, during which I remember thinking that it was a rather complicated way to get rid of gas in the stomach, but there was noticeable relaxation of the pressure and distension within an hour and no recurrence of the problem thereafter.

Reston's article provoked great interest in acupuncture. In 1976 California became the first state to license acupuncture, where just two years earlier pioneering acupuncturist Miriam Lee was arrested for practicing medicine without a license. My martial arts teacher Dr. Alex Feng was one of the first acupuncturists licensed in California (his license number is 297 - mine is 13299).

In 2006 a Chinese publication, the People's Daily, wrote a follow-up which had an interview with some of the original doctors mentioned in Reston's article.

Hope you enjoy this bit of acupuncture history: Now, Let Me Tell You About My Appendectomy in Peking... (full article)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Herbal Remedies for your Gym Bag

Our poor neglected blog is coming back! Take a look at this article featuring Tom Bisio and Frank Butler's Zheng Gu Tui Na physical medicine: Herbal Remedies for your Gym Bag.

Fat Turtle Herb Company carries most of the products mentioned in the article, so give us a buzz at or 310-691-5226 if you want to try these in the clinic or for yourself.

Nini and I will be attending the Zheng Gu Tui Na seminar in San Diego in a few weeks. This is excellent stuff to know and will be immediately useful in practice. I actually met Tom Bisio when I was working at Kamwo - he seems like a nice guy.