I was turned on to mouth taping about three months ago by my brother, and separately by a mentor, both of whom had been taping their mouth shut for years while sleeping.
My brother told me about James Nestor's book "Breath."
I am a pretty avid reader, but I still haven't read the actual book.
However, I have listened to podcasts where Nestor has been interviewed.
The index card summary is: we are supposed to breath through our nose, not our mouth. And, many modern day health problems can be attributed to mouth breathing.
Turns out Eleven in "Stranger Things" was right.
We should breath as much as possible through our noses – like all animals on earth do.
This includes while we sleep.
Hence, mouth taping.
I use blue painter's tape, and put a postage-sized piece on the front of my mouth right before going to bed.
It's a game-changer.
Here's what I've noticed the past few months:
Do you have something that makes a huge difference for you regarding sleep?
If so, share it with me. Would love to hear what it is.
For years now, I have recommended Epson salt baths as a fantastic way to help wind down the nervous system, relax the mind, and decrease muscle pain and soreness.
Recently I learned about B.E.P. baths. This stands for Baking soda, Epsom salt, and hydrogen Peroxide.
Use a ratio is 1 cup baking soda to 4 cup of Epsom salts to 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide.
I’ve taken a few of these baths now, and I like them it better. I've changed my recommendation to B.E.P. baths for patients.
I like them better because of the added benefit of its skin detoxifying and clarifying properties.
Now, like a lot of things in life, the research is a little vague on the “scientific” benefits of these.
Here's an article to help with your own due diligence and suitability...
...however, from the direct experience of my patients, my colleagues, my friends, and myself, I can say without hesitation that these make people feel better.
Sometimes, I don't need proof to tell me if something feels good and is a benefit to me or not.
This is one of those cases.
Please read this entire post to familiarize yourself with the protocols I have set up for your safety and comfort.
Re-opening date: I will begin seeing patients again this Friday, May 22.
Pre-screenings: I will perform an initial pre-screening over the phone the day before your appointment. When you arrive for your treatment, I will take your temperature and ask the pre-screening questions again. If your temperature is elevated or your answers indicate potential infection, I may ask you to reschedule your appointment.
Waiver: You'll need to read and initial a release form required by my liability insurance.
Acu Only: Initially, I will be offering acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine sessions only. I am unsure when I will be re-opening for bodywork. At this time, I recommend coming in for a treatment if you're experiencing any of the following:
Masks: You will be required to wear a mask throughout the appointment. I will also be wearing a mask and gloves the entire time.
Hours: For now, I will be seeing patients Wednesdays from 9 AM to 2 PM and Fridays from 9 AM to 5 PM. I will schedule 30-minute breaks between all appointments to clean the room and common areas.
Waiting Room: Please note that the waiting room will NOT be open. I ask that you wait in your car before the appointment and text me at your scheduled appointment time to let me know you've arrived. I will then meet you at the front door and run through the pre-screening procedure with you.
I will keep you informed as I learn more about the state's re-opening plan and its implications for acupuncturists.
Thank you for your patience. I can't wait to see you and assist you in feeling better.
These three words are different in very important and significant ways.
All three (four) definitions are the first ones listed in The American College Dictionary, Random House 1962.
Acceptance - act of taking or receiving something offered.
Surrender - to yield (something) to the possession or power of another.
Resignation - act of resigning
Resign - to give up an office or position (often fol. by from).
Those three words, by definition, are not the same.
Two important items that I need to update you on.
Closed through April 7th
Based upon the State mandate for business shut down and shelter-at-home, my office is going to remain closed through Tuesday, April 7th.
At this point, Wednesday, April 8th will be my first day physically back in the office.
I seems like we're all going to have to stay flexible and fluid about this, so of course even this timing is subject to change.
Clarification and OFFER for you
A friend asked me if I was seeing existing patients on-line, in addition to initial free consultations...
...and the answer is YES.
Sorry I didn't make that clear.
In the spirit of keeping the wheels turning, I am offering a special rate of only $49 per session for the first 8 existing clients who request one.
We will come up with a custom immune support plan, or address the health issues that you are struggling with at home – no matter what those are, I know I can be of service you.
If there are any herbal formulas or supplements that can support you, I can either arrange for curbside pickup at my office, or a few of the companies I work with have drop shipping available straight to your door.
I have created an appointment on my scheduling software for on-line consultations. Feel free to book on-line for these.
You can also email or text me for to set up an appointment.
Please note that this is for existing clients...new clients will need to request a Free Initial Consultation.
This link will take you to Jim Collins' website, author of Good to Great. This is a 2-3 minute read. It has the power to change your current reality.
Quick update and info in this rapidly changing environment.
1. I am temporarily closing my practice through April 3, 2020.
I have delayed this decision as long as I can in good conscious, but after counseling with others, I believe it's best to keep social distancing at this point. I will be in touch closer to that date, to keep you all informed.
2. Limit news input
I have been practicing this for years, but I limit the news I consume in today's environment as much as possible – even limiting my pretty frequent ESPN perusing.
I offer it only as a suggestion. But, I believe it can make a difference for all of us.
At this point, I am focused mostly on getting facts from the CDC.
I don't do this to hide. I do this to keep my body, mind, and spirit as strong and vital as possible, so I can be of greatest service to myself, my family, and all of us.
3. I am available for Free Consultations via Zoom or phone.
If anyone you know could benefit from talking to an Elite Body Mechanic, I'm still available for that. If you have any friends or family that could benefit from my work, direct them to book a Free Consultation on my website or through my Facebook page.
I am sure I can help them.
Thank you for your continued support, and look out for more communications from me in the coming days and weeks.
We are all in this together.
The answer is yes.
I get it...you are sick, you are concerned about getting others (or me) sick.
I appreciate people who are looking out for me and trying to help me stay well, too.
However, I chose this vocation. I knew what I was signing up for when I did.
I signed up for treating people when they are under the weather.
So, please book yourself a treatment and get some acupuncture, supplements, and herbs.
Let’s get you better.
With that said, there are some practical steps you can take if you suspect you have a certain virus:
I saw a patient this week who had been discharged from an urgent care facility after testing negative for any serious virus, but he was still exhibiting symptoms of the common cold.
He texted me and asked if it was still okay to come in for a treatment.
I told him, "Yes." I want to help him get well. The same goes for you.
Let’s face it. Most of us are not going to get acupuncture or massage treatments seven days a week. But pain can happen at any time -- just sleeping in a crooked position on your pillow or sitting too long at your computer can create aches and tension that seem intolerable. The good news is that there are tons of self-care techniques you can use to ease pain right in your own living room. Not only that, but the care you give yourself between treatments actually increases the efficacy of the work done by your practitioner.
Self-care is the greatest thing you can do to bring about long-term healing. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s a requirement. It can be the deciding factor in whether you get better or not.
Getting a treatment is akin to going to the mechanic to have your tires rotated or your engine checked. It’s necessary to see an expert from time to time. Meanwhile, self-care is like checking your tire pressure or getting an oil change. It has to be done on a regular basis if you want to keep the car running efficiently and ensure that the work done by the mechanic has the maximum possible effect. It’s the same with your body: you’ve gotta take care of it. Which is why I recommend making self-care a habit starting today.
The piece of equipment I most recommend for self-care -- and the one I use most often myself -- is a lacrosse ball. It’s just the right size and density for treating most types of muscle dysfunction.
How to use a lacrosse ball for self-care
All you have to do is place the ball between your body and a wall or underneath your body when lying on the floor. Rolling gently back and forth you can find the most painful spots. Then, by experimenting with how much you lean on the ball, you can modify how much pressure is applied. You may be pleasantly surprised by how much relief this technique can provide. If you’re having a hard time picturing this, check out the video demonstration on my website.
An added trick I recommend is placing the lacrosse ball inside of an old sock. That way you can hold the sock in your hand to prevent the ball from falling as you move around against the wall. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be treating your own muscle pain in no time.
As far as self-care tools go, the lacrosse ball is one of the best. It even has benefits beyond helping you treat the source of your pain.
The simple combination of lacrosse ball and wall offers an easy way to treat practically any part of your body any time you experience pain. Plus, you’ll be providing yourself with the routine maintenance needed to sustain the effects of your most recent professional treatment.
Ten years ago this month, I quit smoking.
It was February 11, 2008 to be exact. I had been a pack-a-day smoker for close to 15 years. Of course, I smoked the "good for you” cigarettes — American Spirit Lights or “Yellows” as I used to call them at the 7-Eleven counter. But regardless of what I told myself about how relatively healthy they were, a pack’s worth of smoke was still going into my lungs every day.
Unexpectedly, acupuncture was what helped me quit.
Earlier that winter, on a freezing cold day with about a foot of snow on the ground, I was standing outside smoking. It was so cold that my fingers began to hurt, and I had to keep switching which hand held the cigarette and which got the benefit of a glove.
Fed up with the cold, I remember saying aloud, “This is stupid!” and tossing the half-smoked cigarette in the gutter. When I looked up, I saw a sign in a the window of a clinic across the street: “Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation.”
I took that as divine providence and immediately walked across the street. Standing at the receptionist’s desk inside the clinic, I pointed at the sign in the window and blurted out, “I want that.”
Seven acupuncture treatments later, I had stopped smoking for good. I felt better almost immediately, and soon after it dawned on me how cost effective my experience had also been. After 44 days of not buying cigarettes, I had broken even. The savings from not smoking had reached the cost of the acupuncture sessions. On that 45th day, I remember thinking, “I’m now saving anywhere from $6 to $9 a day.” And that was at 2008 prices.
Equally important, this experience put the power of acupuncture on my radar. The treatments that got me to quit smoking were the first acupuncture I had ever received, my first exposure to the art of Chinese medicine, and from there I came to discover many other benefits it could provide. Ten years later, here I am — grateful every day for my decision and for the opportunity to help others improve their health with acupuncture.
If you’d like to discuss the benefit of using acupuncture to quit smoking and you are, like I was, unable to quit on your own, please reach out. From both the patient’s point of view and the practitioner’s, I know exactly what it takes for people to quit smoking with acupuncture and Traditional Asian Medicine.
I have been where you are, and I’m here to help.
My wife and I started a Jar of Awesome last January. (Happy New Year everyone, by the way). I was first exposed to the idea by a podcast from Tim Ferriss I listened to, but I’m not sure the actual origin of the idea.
What is a Jar of Awesome? It’s just a jar that you keep in plain sight, and as awesome things happen, you quickly jot them down and drop them in the jar. When New Year’s Eve comes around, you take them all out and read them, reminding yourself of all the awesomeness in your life. If you’d like to learn more, a quick search online pulls up tons of resources.
Over coffee this morning, we dumped the scraps of paper and took turns reading every single one of them aloud. The whole thing took about 5 minutes.
Here are the three things I took away from the exercise:
The slips of paper from 2017 have found their way to the recycling, and the Jar is set up for the coming year.
There is one slip already in there: “Completing the Jar of Awesome for 2017.”
Years ago, I was moving into my new apartment. I had a 14-foot truck I had rented to get my stuff in, having been told that I could just pull up to the back when I arrived, through the back gate.
As soon as I got there, it was obvious to me there was no way it was going to fit underneath the top of the gate – the clearance was too low. I mean, like, by two feet. Any reasonable person would agree, just by looking.
As I was backing away to figure out Plan B, a guy in a BMW started to come out of that same parking lot, and he decided to stop and give me some advice. He asked me if I was moving in. “Yes,” I said. He said. “why don’t you just pull the truck into the parking lot?” I responded curtly, “The truck won’t fit.”
He paused. He looked at the height of the truck. He looked at the gate.
He looked me straight in the eye and with a slight shrug of his shoulder a hitch of his head said, “Give it a shot.”
I smiled. He’s serious – that much I could tell. I said okay.
I tried. Of course it didn’t fit. I had to park in the alley as my Plan B.
But the significance of that frame of mind wasn’t lost on me. I knew it wasn’t going to work. So did he, after he looked at it for a second.
My attitude was to give up. His was to give it a shot anyway.
I will remember that lesson for the rest of my life. I never saw him again. Heck, he might have just been visiting someone there.
But I have subsequently been giving things a shot, even if at first glance, it seems impossible.
Now, I’m not delusional – I know trying to fit that truck under that clearance wasn’t going to work, and no matter how much I wished, or pretended, or wanted the truck to fit, it wasn’t.
That’s not the point. Because I realized upon reflection later that I often didn’t try – didn’t give it a shot – on things I was much less certain would fail. Giving up without even trying was something I was doing often.
As we begin the new year, no matter where you are on the spectrum, I challenge you to increase your willingness to find ways to implement this.
Give it a shot.
"The brain cannot ignore a question."
I listened a podcast about The Kaizen Method on the Art of Manliness website.
Since my first listening, I have re-listened three times.
A laypersons definition of Kaizen is a making consistent, very small improvements. Not a new concept for me, but this particular conversation about it is really powerful, and really practical - two of my favorite criteria for things that make me better.
If you are a patient of mine, be ready...I will be implementing this with you immediately. I have noticed over the years that the higher the number of suggestions I give to patients, the less they seem to do. I notice that in myself as well.
When only one small change is given, it is much easier for people to accept and implement into their lives. Given enough time, this then becomes a habit - which is the goal.
Often, this can take the form of a small question you ask yourself. Your brain can reject, experience fear, or otherwise ignore a grandiose one: "How can I fit in 10 minutes a day, three times a day, every day, of self-care on my shoulder?"
Better to ask yourself: "Where can I find 45 seconds each day to treat my shoulder?"
The brain cannot ignore a question. If its small enough, the brain can find an answer.
Give the Kaizen podcast a listen.
I have been treating at the Community Acupuncture Clinic at Chicago Healing Center two days a week, since it opened in May 2017.
Community acupuncture boasts three main benefits: (ONE) multiple people can be treated at the same time, at a (TWO) reduced price point. Additionally, since an appointment is not required (although it is available) it allows you to (THREE) just show up during during the open hours and get a treatment.
When would you need a treatment right now?
Here are some examples:
That last reason - relaxation - is really valuable. There are times I just need to relax, to unwind, to unplug. Acupuncture is a fantastic way to do that.
A few weeks ago, on a Sunday, I was walking around Rogers Park. I had some things on my mind, but there was nothing particularly "wrong" with me, emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Yet, as I strolled along, I pasted another community acupuncture clinic run by a couple of people I know.
I stopped dead in my tracks, considered it for three seconds, and went in to receive a treatment for myself. It was just what I needed, because I walked out more chilled, more happy, and the things on my mind more rightsized and manageable.
[BTW, yes...I do get acupuncture treatments, and find it weird when acupuncturists don't - more on this another blog post.]
All clinics are run a bit different, so do your research. It might be a good fit for you.
And, consider booking or stopping by the clinic when I'm there, especially if something just came up for you.
So much has been written about mediation. So much has been studied. So many high-performing individuals practice it.
I don't know if there's anything new I'm going to say about it.
All I can do is give you my experience with practicing meditation. Maybe share some insights? Maybe share some tools that I've used.
I think the most important words in the phrase "meditation practice" is not meditation. It's actually practice.
This isn't some revelation – it's a recognition by me that I am not going to be perfect at it.
I never will be. And that's not the point.
The practice is to do the practice.
Sometimes I sit on the couch. Sometimes I sit in a chair. Sometimes I sit on a meditation cushion. Sometimes I drink coffee while I'm meditating. I have a magazine to my left, and with my eyes closed, I will periodically take sips of the beverage.
I do my best to have my thoughts be there and not judge them. But sometimes I do.
Sometimes I listen to headphones. Sometimes I don't.
I tried the Headspace app. It was OK. Wasn't for me.
A friend shared the Insight Timer meditation app. I have enjoyed that immensely. I track my sessions, but hardly ever go back and review what I did. Sharing with friends how many hours I meditate per month, or my location, or what I'm doing now, is not of interest for me.
Periodically, I will use a guided meditation from Tara Brach's website. She has plenty of sessions available, and graciously allows people to listen for free.
I shoot for 15 minutes, first thing in the morning. I do my best.
For now, that's enough. More to come.
2 pounds, 30 minutes, shower afterwards.
The formula for success. The way to taking Epsom salt bath.
A lot of people put in 3 tablespoons, and call it therapeutic. It's probably relaxing, but I wouldn't consider that therapeutic.
The idea of Epsom salts is to help your body and muscles relax, and to help bring magnesium into the body.
The water doesn't have to be hot - just warm. But, make sure that you're in the bath for 20 to 30 minutes. Take something to read, or just lie there, or listen to music.
Your aches Will go away. And, it's just relaxing.
It's like time for yourself, which is healing and therapeutic in and of itself.
I have been taking cold showers since the Fall of 2015.
All-the-way cold. No matter the season. No starting with warm, and easing into cold.
I take showers that start and stop cold.
It started become some of my friends and colleagues started to take them, and tell me about their experience.
Why do them?
I wanted to start the day off with a win. I wanted to have something in front of me that, at the very least, had my mind go, "Are you sure you want to do this?" and even if the answer was, "Hell no!", I would do it anyway. I wanted to have the satisfaction of overcoming the obstacle. Quiet the mind a bit.
Also, there is some good evidence out there to suggest that cold showers help increase immunity and decrease fat.
Regardless, I just taking them, mentally and physically.
No, not every shower is cold - after I train or an infrared sauna, I will typically take a warm shower.
But that first shower of the morning, each and every morning?
As cold as the faucet will go.
I even started taking 10 minute long cold showers periodically. I set a timer, and stand there, until the timer goes off, and then I go 30 or 60 seconds more, just to make sure I was under the cold water for 10 FULL minutes.
I love focusing on my breathing. I love accepting what the cold water gives me, teaches me. I crave the challenge, and I love the win.
Give it a try.
I was introduced to this liniment in 2010 by one of my first bodywork teachers. Zheng Gu Shui ("jeng goo schway") is basically translated as "Heal Bone Water" and this stuff is like liquid Tiger Balm on gear.
Great for muscle pain, back pain, post-workout soreness, pre-workout prep, bruises, especially if acute.
It smells great - well, I like it anyway - and can stain, so use it with old clothing, or clothing you don't care too much about.
Get the bottle with the applicator - it's easiest to apply. Topical use only.
Disclosure: Don't be daft. Use it as it was meant to be used. Don't use it on mucus membranes, open wounds, sensitive areas, etc.
I love coffee. Always have. Probably always will. And, I try to have green tea as often as I can.
The benefits of green tea are wide, and the more I learn about the drink, the more it just confirms that I do love it.
I can bet that you probably don't like green tea.
Here's why you don't like it: You think green tea is too bitter.
You might not know what that means, or you might not agree, but I bet you dollars to donuts that you want to add lemon, or honey, or sugar, or something to green tea because you can't stand the taste.
It's the taste of green tea that you don't like.
I know why: you are over brewing it.
Green tea should be brewed for 30-45 seconds, tops.
Even tea companies mess this up - the vast majority of them say you should brew the tea 2-3 minutes. That is way too long.
Steep your green tea for 30 seconds, then take the bag out and put it on a plate for later.
Now drink it - and enjoy the taste and the benefits.
You can use a tea bag for a few more brewings throughout the day, which reduces the amount of caffeine, while still providing the good stuff.