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How to Integrate Chinese Medicine into Your Everyday Life



How to Integrate Chinese Medicine into Your Everyday Life

Editor’s Note: UPDATED as of October 9, 2016 for relevance and accuracy.


When you think about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), what do you picture?

Most of us see someone lying on a table, with a plethora of acupuncture needles down their back. But TCM is far more than acupuncture, which is only one of six major treatments that TCM uses to help people re-balance themselves and gain better health.

There are a number of ways you can easily and naturally integrate TCM’s core tenants into your life to improve your overall health and well-being.

How to Integrate Chinese Medicine into Everyday Life

For five thousand years, the Chinese medicine multidimensional body-mind-spirit system has been rooted in natural law. That means it’s based on the seasons’ and the planets’ effects on the body (think about the full moon!), as well as Nature’s and the Universe’s energy relationship with our body.

Like today’s modern scientists, TCM has also understood for thousands of years that everything is energy. Health and wellness are the result of correctly balancing your body’s energy system. It believes there is a natural harmony or cooperation that exists within the organs and your body’s energy system. Illness and disease occur when one or more areas become out of balance with the others.

To prevent health problems, you need to pay great attention to what your body is taking in—not just on the physical level, but also on the mind level. Constantly digesting negative emotions and thoughts take a real toll on how the body functions.

For this post, we are going to speak mainly about the body, since it’s the easiest place for most people to start. TCM offers a number of approaches for creating wellness at the physical level. Its treatments include: acupuncture, herbal therapy, Qigong, Tuina (Chinese acupressure or massage), and a unique understanding of nutrition.

Nutrition and Chinese Medicine

Let’s look at nutrition: it’s one of the simplest ways to improve your health. For thousands of years, TCM has prescribed foods and herbs as medicine. It has long understood that the spiritual aspect of food—the true healing “ingredient”—goes far beyond the physical qualities of nutrients, calories, and vitamins. Each natural food has its own energy essence that can be used to support an organ and right imbalances within your body.

Chinese medicine classifies two categories of healing foods: the first includes foods that are part of a typical diet, such as broccoli, celery, carrots, apples, pineapples, pears and the like. The second includes foods and herbs that are prescribed in certain amounts, often for specific periods of time, such as ginseng, ginger, Goji berries and coix seed (sometimes called “Chinese barley”). These foods are usually prescribed when an aspect of the body is out of balance.

For instance: if you are having an issue with your liver, it is likely you would be told to include these foods in your daily diet: bamboo, broccoli rabe, dandelion, eggplant, fennel and scallions. TCM has understood for millennia that these foods can stimulate liver function and help its tasks at the body, mind and spirit levels.

Food can help your body regain its natural balance.

The Role of Acupressure

The real goal of Chinese medicine healing treatments is based on the knowledge that the body is born with the ability to heal itself.

TCM believes that prevention is the best cure. That’s why many treatments focus on restoring the body’s balance and harmony as opposed to healing addressing only symptoms or after an illness has already occurred. Getting an acupuncture “tune-up” is one of the easiest ways to stay in balance and prevent illness, which, of course, requires a skilled acupuncturist. But, acupressure is a healing modality you can do by yourself—anytime, anywhere, without any special equipment.

Acupressure involves stimulating or massaging key energy points in your body to produce maximum energy flow in your meridians, or energy channels, that connect all your organs. This simple practice can improve organ health. The Four Energy Gates is a powerful acupressure practice that helps the body achieve balance and supports overall health. Click on that link for more information on how to improve energy flow with a few simple daily self-massage sessions. Invest time in maintaining your own health.

Chinese Medicine and the Mind

While the preceding information has been focused on the body, I’d like to include the mind as well. The expression, “you are what you eat,” is true. At a higher level of awareness, it’s more important to note, “you are what you think.

Sometimes, we feed ourselves a steady diet of negative thoughts and emotions that we still have to digest and process. We have to understand that thoughts feed our spirit; our emotions impact our body and health. We all know that if we’re depressed and tired, it’s much easier to catch a cold. Negative emotions can directly impact the way an organ functions.

In Chinese medicine, specific emotions relate to specific organs systems. They are especially disruptive if you experience them in excess or all the time—like fear, anger constant worry and overthinking. These affect your body’s ability to maintain balance and stave off illness.

One way you can help transform negative emotions is by incorporating meditation into your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be much—even 10 or 15 minutes can work, if done correctly. The health benefits can be tremendous.

Final Thoughts

Remember, in TCM, prevention is key.

Keeping your body well through what you are taking in physically, mentally, and spiritually, is what you should focus on. TCM practitioners are trained to observe and address even the body’s smallest signs of imbalance. Chronic, annoying symptoms like pain, headaches, PMS, allergies, hot flashes, even skin rashes or vision issues, are the body’s way of signaling something is starting to go awry health-wise.

If you develop signs and symptoms that you didn’t have previously, your body is telling you something in your life has to change. Left untreated and dismissed as simply part of the modern human condition, symptoms can eventually progress into more serious ailments. Don’t let your body’s whispers become shouts!  All health issues—large and small—are of importance to Chinese medicine practitioners.

Thanks to modern science, especially quantum physics, today we know that, at the subatomic level, everything is energy or energy frequencies. We also know, that at the deepest level, everything is connected. Inseparability is a basic principle of natural law. Because everything is energy and everything is interconnected, we have to consider how each aspect of our lives affects the other.

Emotions and thoughts are actual energetic frequencies; your physical being is an energetic system, pulsating in energy waves at the subatomic level. Energy can affect energy – therefore, emotional energy definitely affects physical energy and vice versa.

In TCM, the most important thing you can do for yourself—whether it involves nutrition, exercises, Qigong, or any other host of practices–is to be mindful of the powerful energy vibrations that you allow into your body and mind.
For more information on TCM, you can visit our website at There, you can learn more about various aspects of Chinese medicine, including meditative techniques to relieve stress, recipes for healing herbal teas, and delicious dishes to help your body repair itself when you’re out of balance, and much more.

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6 gym tips to stop feeling like a newbie



gym tips to stop feeling like a newbie

No matter what age or fitness background you are, heading to the gym can be an overwhelming – and even intimidating – task. While I’ve been coaching for nearly 15 years, and training for over 20, I can still vividly recall my first few months at the gym.

I was actually petrified of getting kicked out because I was young and didn’t know how to use much of the equipment. So I stuck to the assisted pull-up, the lat pull-down, the lateral shoulder raise, the leg extension, and the hamstring machines. I also did a few bicep and triceps exercises with the dumbbells. My thought was to lay-low and not attract any attention. I didn’t really know what I was doing!

Thankfully, a few of the gym staff members were incredibly friendly. They happily took me under their wing to teach me what they knew. This allowed me to not only feel more confident, but also to learn what was “good” and “bad” information when it came to strength training and lifting.

It’s been a long time since those first few months of feeling scared and intimidated. Every single one of us who uses the gym has been there. But with some attention and care, we each have the potential to drastically change our bodies, our lives, and our self-confidence.

Here are the top six gym tips that have helped most folks stop feeling like newbies in the gym. Hopefully, these will help you feel right at home there yourself!


Gym Tips To Stop Feeling Like a Newbie

1.) Ask for a trainer to show you how to use the equipment.

gym tips to stop feeling like a newbie

While this may seem pretty obvious, most of us are in fact, embarrassed to ask the floor staff for gym tips, or how to use a piece of equipment. We’re afraid of sticking out like a sore thumb. But this is exactly what we need in order to quickly feel more at home in the gym – and make sure we don’t get hurt.

While some gyms have their trainers sell personal training packages, any trainer should be more than happy to show you how to use a piece of equipment properly. Be sure to either take notes, or simply ask to take a video on your smartphone during the demonstration. Aim to learn at least one new machine every time you go to the gym.

If you’re hitting the gym three days a week, this means that over the course of two months, you’ll know how to set up nearly every machine in there. By this time, you’ll understand the basics of different movements and how to perform them safely, and properly!

Some gyms even offer “orientation packages” that allow you to have a staff member or trainer help you get the most out of your time there. This helps the gym to not only have a greater chance of landing a sale, but it also drastically decreases the risk of an accident due to improper use of equipment. It’s a win-win for everyone!


2.) Hire a trainer for 1-2 sessions to learn new exercises and to check your technique.

Don’t think of a personal trainer as someone you’ll be stuck with for 30+ sessions. Most actually look for opportunities to help newbies learn proper gym tips and techniques. Why? Because they know that it’s a fantastic chance to help someone get into fitness, discover things about themselves, and get stronger and fitter!

Hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions to help you set up a routine will not only help you stop feeling like a newbie, but also help you actually see faster results from your efforts.

One of the biggest reasons why those New Year’s Resolutions crowd tend to stop coming is because they try to take on too much, or too much of the wrong things. They get frustrated and stop showing up. Consistency is one of the biggest determiners for success – in any field – but especially in fitness!

So set yourself up for success AND have a friendly face to help keep you accountable by doing a few sessions with a personal trainer.


3.) Put together a plan.

gym tips to stop feeling like a newbie

If you’ve noticed, each of these points build off of one another, allowing you to have the roadmap that has helped other “newbies” grow into those regulars who enjoy going to the gym as part of their regular fitness routine. This is all part of the greater plan to help you succeed – and enjoy the gym!

Putting together a plan is so simple – yet it’s something many folks don’t do. But people who have plans and are consistent with them, achieve great results in life – whether it’s in the gym, financial investing, weight loss, personal development, or anything else. Consistent actions, no matter how small, build up MASSIVE changes over time.

But in order to get there, you need a plan. Making progress in the gym is as simple as: showing up, doing the work, recover, and repeat. You can choose to follow a program you read from a magazine. Just be sure it’s a quality magazine with written programs from certified and experienced fitness professionals.

Oh, and those “Instagram Fitness Professionals” who have 40k+ followers their own “get fit like me” program for $49.99? Don’t waste your time or money. Many of these “social media influencers” usually have little to zero knowledge of how proper training works. That’s why many of their faithful followers negative side effects due to unsound training practices.

Do your homework, and find out if the individual who wrote your program (or from whom you’re buying one) has a degree in exercise science/physiology from a well-known and respected institution. Verify if they have quality certification, such as an NSCA-CSCS, NSCA-CPT, ACSM-HFI, or another trusted certification.

EXPERT BONUS TIP: Learn the Fundamental 5

While I’ve helped hundreds – if not thousands – of new gym goers over the span of my career thus far, each one of them had to learn and master the “Fundamental 5” exercises. These have helped them learn how to properly strength train and move their body.

These five (5) fundamental movements are:

  • Push (e. bench press or push-ups)
  • Pull (seated rows)
  • Squat (eastern squats)
  • Hinge (dead lifts or band pull-through)
  • Press (shoulder press)

Remember: just because someone got the certification, doesn’t mean that they know what they’re talking about. It just means they have a good understanding of the basics. So do your homework. This is YOUR body we’re talking about – and you only get one!


4.) Ask questions, but be wary of “bro’s”.

While we may think that the guy who’s strolling around the gym looking like a real-life Arnold Schwarzenegger, or the woman who looks like an Instagram model, may be the best to ask about gym tips and techniques, looks can be deceiving.

Make sure that the person you’re asking has the right knowledge, and knows the appropriate considerations for your needs. It’s not just about what worked for them, or what someone else told them.


5.) Know and adhere to good gym etiquette – even when others may not.

gym tips to stop feeling like a newbie

Good gym etiquette is essential to becoming a “good gym citizen”. I could go on and explain this, but I think I’ll let Rog Law and Mark Fisher to explain it in a more visual and fun way in this video (*warning: adult language).


6.) Sign up for a few group classes to help you meet people, and learn different exercises!

Group classes are a fantastic way to meet fellow gym goers and speed up your learning curve. Many gyms offer a variety of classes: from Pilates, yoga, TRX (Total Resistance eXercise), and weight training, you can find a class setting to help you learn a few new exercises to include in your own practice. Not to mention that you’ll have a great time!


The gym can be a fantastic place to get in shape and change how you feel about yourself. It can also help you realize that you’re capable of far more than you ever thought possible. But in order to get there, you must be consistent and regular in your training. You must understand and learn what is good from bad advice.

The gym is for everyone – especially you. We were all beginners at one time or another. Ask questions, take notes, and keep a training journal. These gym tips will help you not only to get more comfortable, but also allow you to improve your training over the weeks, months, or even years ahead on your fitness journey.

Have fun, and enjoy!

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4 Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat When You’re Stressed



Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

It’s a given that as you go through life, you’re going to come into stress regularly. The question is: how are you going to deal with it? If you’re reading this, you’ve probably built a habit of turning to food and/or TV/streaming shows when you get stressed.

But you’ve had enough! You’re ready to change. You realize that exercise is a fantastic outlet; but you’re not sure how to change your habit from eating to working out. I’m happy to tell you that it all boils down to four simple steps that you could take TODAY!

In his book “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg talks about how many people use this excuse: “impossible to change, it’s just who I am”. However, it’s not too difficult to change a habit – as long as you understand the reasons behind them.

How does one do this?

With these four little workout motivation tips, you’ll begin to re-wire yourself to reach for your gym clothes instead of food when you get upset. Here’s how.


4 Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

1.) Recognize the routine.

Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

Researchers at MIT discovered a basic neurological loop at the very center of every habit. This neurological loop has three parts:

  • the cue (stress)
  • a routine (grab the food)
  • the reward (eating)

While we can’t change the cue, we CAN change the routine and the reward. It just takes a little bit of thought and effort.


2.) Change how you look at the reward.

Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

In the case of finding workout motivation, the reward from exercise is actually far stronger than the reward from eating!

When we exercise, we are changing our physiology by upping the hormone levels in our bodies. Just the simple act of heading out the door for a walk, or hitting the weights at the gym, has a FAR stronger positive reward to our body and mind than grabbing food.

The key is to GET STARTED in changing how you look at the reward for the habit.


3.) Before you head for food, pause.

Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

Pause and write down the first three things that come to mind. I know what you’re thinking: has this dude lost his mind? What does writing down what I’m thinking have to do with workout motivation?


These three things can be anything that comes to mind: emotions, thoughts on how you’re feeling, songs by your favorite musician, or random things. For example, right now my thoughts would be: cute puppy, coffee, and happy.

Now once you’ve written down these three things, sit down (somewhere not near the food) and set an alarm for 15 minutes. When it goes off, ask yourself if you still feel like eating.

This mental exercise may seem silly, but it actually does a number of things for us:

  • It allows us to become aware of what we are thinking and feeling.
  • This snaps us into momentary awareness.
  • The 15 minutes helps us to figure out if you’re really hungry, or you just need to move (9 times out of 10, we need to exercise!).


4.) Put on your walking shoes.

Workout Motivation Tips To Exercise Instead of Eat

Or grab your gym bag/jump rope/TRX, or whatever, and get started on your exercise!

If you’re stressed in the middle of work and you can’t leave to go to the gym, then simply take a walk around the park, or head to the stairs and walk up and down for 3-5 minutes. Then come back to your desk.

Don’t put it off. Begin the new reward right away! NOW is the time to get started on exercise and drastically change your “automatic habit”.

Just those 3-5 minutes can help reduce the hormonal stress response of the body, allowing you to blunt the negative impact enough. This is until you can leave after work for a longer walk, or head to the gym/park to get moving – instead of moving to the couch with a bag of chips.


Final Words

Don’t be fooled! While these workout motivation tips are simple, they can be challenging to do consistently – and consistency is the key to success!

Write yourself a sticky note or a reminder in your phone. Be sure to read it twice each day: once in the morning and again in the evening. This is to remind yourself that you are changing your habit of how you respond when you’re upset. This little daily reminder can make big waves on your journey to a NEW habit.

Finding your workout motivation can have an absolutely MASSIVE positive impact on many aspects of your life!

Having worked as the Exercise Physiologist for a Bariatric Surgery Group, as well as a cycling, running, and triathlon coach, I have both helped and seen first-hand the incredible transformation that many folks have made happen by changing their habit.

From 400lbs down to 205lbs and running a half marathon, or going from 265lbs down to 195lbs and racing bicycles, you too can accomplish incredible positive results. This not only changes how you deal with stress, but also begins an incredible body and life-changing transformation.

Become a no-holds-barred champion, kick stress in the butt, and be a sharper, healthier, more confident version of yourself. Finding your workout motivation can knock down that first “tough” domino and get your momentum going to unleash your full potential to the world, and unlock your ability to accomplish goals and aspirations.

I’ve seen it many times before and the results are spectacular. What are you waiting for?

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