Sunday, November 29, 2009

Parasites - Good or Bad?

Isn't he cute??

Tonight I heard an excellent radio program on parasites, courtesy of Radiolab on WNYC. There's an interview with parasite expert and science writer Carl Zimmer, and a fascinating segment on a fellow who had chronic asthma and decided to treat it by purposefully acquiring a hookworm. Spoiler alert: it totally worked!

To paraphrase the program: autoimmune diseases such as asthma, type 1 diabetes, lupus, et cetera are virtually unknown in the developing world. Why? We might be a little too clean. If you use antibacterial products in your home and eat only irradiated food, you've essentially eliminated an entire class of organism from your life - organisms which have developed in concert with human beings for thousands of years.

Granted, sanitation and hygiene are important. No one is advocating that doctors stop washing their hands. But listen to this program for a slightly different take on parasites - and just maybe learn to appreciate them!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

At the age of 100, Xing Yi Master Wang Ji Wu Describes His Principles of Living a Healthy Life

This gem was brought to my attention by licensed acupuncturist and tai chi teacher Robert Martinez of New York City. Thanks Robert! It has wonderful words of wisdom for anyone interested in health, and for doctors and martial artists in particular.

I believe it may have been taken from this book, Xing Yi Nei Gong.

The Heart is Calm, Quiet as Still Water
My own history is from the end of the Qing Dynasty, through the period of the republic to the People's Republic, already a hundred years. My life has seen its share of ups and downs, times of poverty and hardship, honor and dishonor, the changes of the seasons, all of which have left a deep impression on me. After the founding of the People's Republic, my life became stable, but with the Cultural Revolution, disaster once again overran the country and I was forced out of business. All of these events served as a means of cultivating my spirit, and afforded me the opportunity to practice the "gong fu" of living in the world.

One must always maintain a calm heart even when influenced by the Seven Emotions; joy, anger, happiness, worry, sadness, fear, and surprise. The heart must remain as calm as still water, never allowing any personal desires to stir up a ripple of disturbance. My thoughts are pure; in spirit I seek to forget myself and transcend the common affairs of the world, keeping my life simple and my desires few. With a clear heart, I do not contend with others or make demands upon the world, but rather seek to contribute what I can for the benefit of all, aiding those in need and protecting those in danger.

Without desire one is strong, without desire one is quiet, without desire one may return to that which is natural, without desire one returns to the Original State. With a heart like still water, from the extreme stillness will spring action, from the Void comes that which is alive, yin and yang are in harmony and the qi flows unimpeded. With a heart like still water, the qi is sufficient and the spirit full. When the qi is sufficient and the spirit full, the Organs function normally, the blood is nourished, the meridians, nerves, digestion, and circulation are all healthy and the metabolism stimulated. When the factors that prevent aging are all strong, one may prevent illness and live a long and healthy life.

Humans are holistic beings which are possessed of a certain vitality. The spirit and flesh are inseparable and form a complicated entity. The human vitality supports, influences, and is responsive to the person as a whole, while the spirit is the leader and controller, the "commander-in-chief" of the being as a whole. Under certain circumstances, it can be said that the spirit, "pulls one hair and the whole body follows," or, at the slightest stirring of the spirit the whole being responds, and each movement of the spirit has a real effect on the individual. Therefore, I put special emphasis on the spirit as leader, ever strengthening my resolve to cultivate the spirit, maintain calmness of heart, and become as pure as light without a speck of dust. This is akin to the Song Dynasty poet who wrote "to understand the highest virtue" applied to the present time. Better yet, this cultivation of the spirit and heart will improve the physical constitution of the people, protect their health, and contribute to a long and healthy life.

Live an Enthusiastic Life, Serve the Public Good
I have traveled the long road of life, experiencing hardship, difficulty, and I know the sentiment of man is often as thin as paper. I have seen corruption and those whose only concern is realizing their own desires. Because of this, I have striven even harder to live a practical life, willing to sacrifice even more for the good of the people. After the founding of the Republic, I spent my time working in the streets as a doctor, treating anyone who came to me for help with wholehearted enthusiasm. When one finds happiness in serving others, one will be full of the spirit of life, seeing things as they are with a calm heart. Thus, one may reach the state where the spirit is preserved within, the body is healthy and the spirit full, the intellect wise, decisions made adroitly and reactions made spontaneously. Consequently, the life energy will be strengthened and increased while promoting the health and longevity of the body.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Luriko Ozeki L.Ac in the Dominican Republic

Luriko Ozeki recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic, where she provided acupuncture treatments as part of a multi-disciplinary medical team. Click here to read her blog about the trip.

Luriko practices in West L.A. - click here to visit her website.