The Kidneys Ask Us to Slow Down

The Kidneys Ask Us to Slow Down

In Traditional East Asian Medicine, the body’s physiological processes can be viewed through the lens of Five Phase theory. 

Each phase relates to a major organ, an emotion and a season. 

All things can be viewed through this lens for easy discussion and healing discoveries.

The heart and lungs are relatively higher in the body away from the earth. They process blood and air every second of every day. 

 

The liver and spleen are physically just below the diaphragm in the middle. They process food and blood on a daily or in some cases weekly cycles. 

 

The kidneys are the lowest of these five.

They rule events in life such as birth, puberty, child bearing.

These processes are slow. 

In the last 40 or so years the speed of our lifestyles has increased exponentially.  Mother Earth is still telling us all to slow down – more. 

In 2020 I went from 50 patients per week to 22. It wasn’t by choice. But it was most certainly better for me. More time for conscious breathing, exercise, and hydrating. 

Kidney Deficiency usually manifests in the low back and the knees.

This past year has been challenging, heart-breaking, and difficult to varying degrees for each of us.  As we press on into this third wave, it is important to understand the stress this has on the kidneys. We are all to some degree in fight or flight. We are in survival mode. Every social pattern we have known has been disrupted and changed. As we move through this transition, the healthiest thing we can do is to acknowledge how this affects the kidneys and support ourselves accordingly.

In the kidneys resides essence or Jing and our will to live.

The connection between the kidneys and the heart is important to understand. If you look at the diagram, you may notice  that this is the axis of fear and joy. Water and fire. This is a spectrum. The antidote for fear – is Cultivating Joy. The adrenals and kidneys are directly connected. We want to nourish our kidneys and support our essence. We can do this in the following ways:

  • Turn the TV off
  • Take a holiday from social media
  • Go outside. Make a fire, talk a walk, tend to your yard- connect with the natural rhythms of nature. Feel the wind, see the stars, you get the idea.
  • Get plenty of rest at regular intervals
  • Hydrate well and often with good quality
  • 20 min Gentle movement necessary during the day – yoga, qi-gong or pleasant walk in the park (not a 3 mile run)
  • Plan to do less
  • Practice self-care
  • Drink bone broth or mineral broth if vegetarian

 

The Kidneys…

  • are at the deepest level of all the organs (this operates on the levels of mind, body and spirit) 
  • control your entire blood pressure system
  • regulate Blood cell production
  • regulate all the water in the body (regulate the salinity of the water through the advanced filtration system)
  • are related to the element of water and are in affinity with the colors black and blue (where these colors to support the kidneys!)
  • In the Kidneys we find the will – including the will to live – the will to move forward and conversely, fear. Kidneys out of balance will be an experience of stuckness/frozen in fear. It is like the roots of the tree are all dried out.

Winter is the time of a deep going within, it is the season of the kidneys, so having loving intention in this direction can amplify our process.

If we can find the gifts, the silver linings and perhaps even find the joy in places and moments we can proceed in that direction, slowly, mindfully and heal. 

 

Homemade Bone Broth

Homemade Bone Broth

 

Homemade Bone Broth is deeply nourishing to the body.

It supports gut health, skin hair and nails and nourishes our deepest organs- the kidneys.  This is food as medicine. Bone broth is a fantastic source of many gut-healing, anti-inflammatory agents. Healthy, pasture-raised and grass-fed animal bones and joints are rich in amino acids, gelatin, collagen.  These components support the health of your bones, joints, and skin.

Collagen is an essential building block for a healthy gut lining. With homemade bone broth you can help repair damage by ingesting collagen-rich foods and supplements such as bone broth and hydrolyzed collagen powder.

It is important to source healthy and humanely raised pastured and grass-fed animals – so that you getting the healthy benefits of this traditional food.

Here is the simple recipe for chicken bone broth we make at home. There are other bone broth recipes you can find with a simple search (lamb, beef  and fish).

Simple Homemade Bone Broth (Chicken)

  • 1 chicken back
  • 6 -12 or more chicken feet (this is an important ingredient as this is where much of the dense gelatin resides)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 14 Cups of clean spring water (chlorine and fluoride free)
  • 3 TBS of Himalayan salt or Celtic Sea salt
  • 1 TBS of raw Apple cider Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to Instant Pot or crock pot
  2. Add in apple Cider Vinegar – let sit for 1 hr – this helps leach all the nutrients and minerals out of the bones
  • Instant Pot: Set on High Soup 120 mins
  • Crock pot: Cook low and slow for 18-24 hours
  • Stock Pot – stove top: Turn to a simmer and put lid on pot and let it simmer for 18-24 hours

When done pour through a tea strainer over the mug or bowl. Add other ingredients as desired. We like the broth just this way. But you can add other ingredients before or after cooking.

  • Garlic (crush and let sit for 15 min before adding in or cooking with it as it activates the healing benefits)
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Celery, onion, carrot, etc.
  • We will also use it to make soup. We like to sauté the holy trinity of onions, garlic and celery – add diced carrots, beets and broth.

With the instant pot  – we keep the broth going on warm for a few days and serve hot from there straining as we serve. 

Process from the stove top or out of the Instant Pot or Crock pot:

  1. Turn off and let cool for 30 min to hour, then lift out all the bones/veggies and set aside
  2. Pour the broth through strainer to filter out all the grit into another bowl
  3. Cover and refrigerate.  The fat will separate and rise to the top.
  4. Remove from fridge and  you may now skim off the fat with a large metal spoon (some leave the fat on). The broth should be jelly-like which is WHAT YOU WANT – it means it is loaded with collagen and gelatin.
  5. You can now put a wide mouth funnel over a few mason jars.
  6. Put up to 3 days worth in the fridge and freeze the rest. It only stays fresh for about 3-4 days. You can freeze it for up to one year. PLEASE NOTE: Only fill mason jars for the freezer 75% when frozen  the broth will expand and the jar will crack.

 

Benefits of Homemade Bone Broth

  • Gut Health: The dense gelatin in bone broth is a vital nutrient for healing the gut
  • Aids Digestion
  • Improves joint health.
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Anti-aging
  • Makes your hair, nails, and skin glow
  • Can improve sleep

 

Simple Homemade Bone Broth (Chicken)

Keyword Adrenal Fatigue, Gut health, Health, immune, Kidneys, Stress

Ingredients

  • 1 Vhicken back
  • 6 -12 Or more chicken feet (this is an important ingredient as this is where much of the dense gelatin resides)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 14 Cups Clean spring water (chlorine and fluoride free)
  • 3 TBS or less of Himalayan salt or Celtic Sea salt
  • 1 TBS Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to Instant Pot, crock pot, or stop top

  2. Add in apple Cider Vinegar - let sit for 1 hr - this helps leach all the nutrients and minerals out of the bones

Cooking Method

  1. Instant Pot: Set on high/ seal - Soup for 120 mins

    Crock pot: Cook low and slow for 18-24 hours 

    Stock Pot - stove top: Turn to a simmer and put lid on pot and let it simmer for 18-24 hours 

Recipe Notes

When done pour through a tea strainer over the mug or bowl. Add other ingredients as desired. We like the broth just this way. But you can add other ingredients before or after cooking. 

  • Garlic (crush and let sit for 15 min before adding in or cooking with it as it activates the healing benefits)
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Celery, onion, carrot, etc. 
  • We will also use it to make soup. We like to sauté the holy trinity of onions, garlic and celery - add diced carrots, beets and broth.

With the instant pot  - we keep the broth going on warm for a few days and serve hot from there straining as we serve. 

Process from the stove top or out of the Instant Pot or Crock pot:

  1. Turn off and let cool for 30 min to hour, then lift out all the bones/veggies and set aside
  2. Pour the broth through strainer to filter out all the grit into another bowl
  3. Cover and refrigerate.  The fat will separate and rise to the top. 
  4. Remove from fridge and  you may now skim off the fat with a large metal spoon (some leave the fat on). The broth should be jelly-like which is WHAT YOU WANT - it means it is loaded with collagen and gelatin.
  5. You can now put a wide mouth funnel over a few mason jars.
  6. Put up to 3 days worth in the fridge and freeze the rest. It only stays fresh for about 3-4 days. You can freeze it for up to one year. PLEASE NOTE: Only fill mason jars for the freezer 75% when frozen  the broth will expand and the jar will crack. 

 

Making Friends with your Inner Rebel during the Holidays

Making Friends with your Inner Rebel during the Holidays

Inner rebel, outer rebel, reformed rebel, rebel in training — we love rebels. They carry our fire, our power and let’s face it – they know how to have a good time. BUT they can throw us our health game off if we keep them in the subconscious or the shadows. Our inner rebel is the one who whips out a hand and suddenly eats 6 brownies after passing the brownie plate successfully 10 times.

Instead, try giving yourself explicit permission to enjoy that brownie, that homemade pie, these amazing traditional foods that come from your family heritage. It’s very important this year to honor and deeply enjoy those traditions.

From a Holistic Nutrition perspective, we use two food categories: Primary Food and Secondary Food.

Secondary Foods are the foods that we eat that sustain us and  bring health to our body.
Primary Foods are everything else that feed us in a good way. This includes hiking, art, spending time with friends and loved ones, hiking, etc. This also includes eating for pleasure.

This year our Primary Foods have had to adjust, we’ve had to dig deep into the question “What brings me joy?”

We invite you to give yourself permission to ENJOY the Primary Foods  with the distinction of doing it with deep reverence, gratitude and most importantly, let go of any guilt attached. What we find when we do this  (permission and enjoyment, no guilt) we partner with our inner rebel (a very fun-loving aspect) and we stay in balance.

Goddess Slaw

Goddess Slaw

This is one of our family’s favorite recipes. In fact, it is my go-to potluck dish. Made with seasonal ingredients,  it’s easy to whip up, tastes indulgent, and will keep you healthy and satisfied.

 

Healthy,Vibrant Goddess Slaw

1-3 Apples – shredded – Choose green apples for lower glycemic impact

1 large Beet – shredded

3-4 Carrots – shredded

Optional – can add scallions or green onions to taste if desired

Combine with avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil – 1 – 2 TBS, salt & pepper to taste

Add squeeze citrus juice of choice – I combine a squeeze of orange with lime – or whatever I have on hand 

You’ll want to coat it but not have it swimming in juice.

Let sit for a bit for flavors to combine

Enjoy!

Goddess Slaw 

Easy, tasty salad or side dish

Servings 8 people
Author Nicole Johnson, MFA, CHHC

Ingredients

  • 1-3 Apples - shredded - Choose green apples for lower glycemic impact
  • 1 large Beet - shredded
  • 3-4 Carrots - shredded
  • Optional - can add scallions or green onions to taste if desired

Instructions

  1. Combine with avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil - 1 - 2 TBS, salt & pepper to taste

  2. Add squeeze citrus juice of choice - combine a squeeze of orange with lime - or whatever you have on hand

  3. You'll want to coat it but not have it swimming in juice.
  4. Let sit for a bit for flavors to combine

 

 

Cold and Flu Season

Cold and Flu Season

Transitioning into Autumn

Here we are, late summer is transitioning into fall. The in-breath is changing to the out-breath. This is a Transition Time – an in-between time – and these times can be very powerful  for our health if we are paying attention. Transitions are where possibility finds fertile ground.

Each year at this time, Chad and I write and speak about the importance of slowing down, consolidating the big outward energy (yang) of summer and turning towards a more nourishing inward focus (yin). This is a time of Transformation – for the earth and for her stewards (us!).

This time of year from an East Asian Medicine Perspective

The Ancient Taoists studied nature to understand humanity and health. Ayurvedic Medicine also connects our bodies and our processes to the seasons. When we eat seasonal foods, and align with the mood, tone, and impulse of each season and transition time, we bring ourselves into a deeper foundation of living in balance. 

  • The SPLEEN is the organ of Transformation and Transportation. 
  • The Element of the Spleen is EARTH
  • The Color of Earth and Spleen are Yellow

This time of year cooler breezes arrive and cold and flu season is right behind.

In Chinese Medicine, the cause of the cold is not necessarily due to bacteria or virus directly, but what we call, wind – or exposure to wind and the weakening of our immune system. Exposure to wind can weaken the body’s defenses while carries the pathogens; cold, damp, and/or heat (The symptoms are equal to common infections) into the body through the back of the neck. Wearing a scarf in breezy, cooler weather will do a lot to keep illness at bay.

Transition your diet from cold and/or raw summer-type foods (salads, smoothies, watermelon) into warmer foods that are mostly cooked and seasonal. Fruits like grapes, apples, pears are healthy this time of year in moderation and warm foods like soups, stews, teas, and cooked squashes are highly beneficial.

Japanese Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine use Moxibustion (mugwort) to bring warmth the body via specific acupoints. In our clinic we favor Okyu – a refined Japanse style of direct moxa that is practiced as a standalone medicine in Japan. This is excellent for those of us who tend toward cold. During each treatment we are supporting your body’s immune system, defense layer (Wei Qi) and the organs through a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion. A seasonal tune-up during these transition times support you in keeping your body healthy and resistance level strong.

How deeply are you connecting with Mother Nature? Late Summer through Early Fall connects with the Earth Element – The color Yellow, the Spleen, and is a time of Transformation.

A few ways you can honor transition and transformation: Reconnect with the earth by walking barefoot, Forest bathing and eating and emphasizing yellow and orange foods such as squash, millet, mung beans, peaches (if you have ‘em), sweet potatoes, and more. 

Know that you are supporting your spleen and stomach, the earth element within the body. These organs govern Sympathy. The joy of summer leads to Sympathy, Sympathy can also lead to Grief. We want to be sure we are in balance on this spectrum.

“Sympathy is earthy. It arises from the stomach and Spleen in the center of the abdomen. Like humidity in late summer, it is gathering, nourishing and yielding.” ~ Lorie Deschar, Five Spirits

Autumn is a Time of…

  • The peak harvest
  • Saying goodbye
  • The feeling that the “fun is ending”
  • Back to the grind
  • Getting organized
  • Recommitting to health
  • Transitional Seasons are a good time to get a “tune up” with Acupuncture
  • ALSO– be sure to cover your neck! As the winds pick up, we get colds through the back of our neck. Wear a scarf – even with a T-shirt. Chad does it, it looks suave. 🙂

Keeping Healthy and Boosting Your Immune System During Transitions

This is also a time we can get sick. Here are important ways to keep healthy right now:

1. Sleep. Get enough rest. This cannot be emphasized enough. Your body needs to sleep. It is when it can repair itself. Experiment with how many hours you need. Some do well at 9 or 10 others need only 8.  Eight hours of sleep before 10pm is more healing and supportive than the same amount after midnight. This has to  do with the circadian rhythm of the body and it’s repair processes. If you are like many people having trouble sleeping right now, book a treatment with Chad – Acupuncture is very helpful with sleep. You may also call Nicole for a health coaching session that will help you make some easy changes and tweaks for promoting better sleep.

2. Disconnect from Technology to Reduce Stress and Anxiety. Yep. We are all feeling it. Commit to your cocoon of safety, love and self-care. Don’t check twitter, take news fasts, take social media breaks, feed your energy towards things that bring you joy. Stress is ravaging our health and well-being.

From our perspective, we are living through a slow-moving trauma – still. Be gentle and tender with yourself. Come in for acupuncture for support with any anxiety you are experiencing. From the holistic nutrition perspective avoid or reduce caffeine and sugar – this exacerbates anxiety levels. Nicole had to give up her vice of cold brew coffee this summer because of this. I switched to dark Maté which gives me energy but has a different effect on my nervous system.

3. Use the Breathe to Regulate your Nervous System. To bring yourself into the parasympathetic state (rest and digest) — if you are having an intense reaction or episode work with your breath. There is a simple technique that Chad guides people through everyday in the clinics. 

Simple Breath Technique: 

  • Big breath in and exhale forcefully out
  • Then take a relaxing breath: breathe into the abdomen – below the diaphragm- do not engage the neck and the upper chest, 60% inhale and 100% exhale long and slow.
  • Do three of the calming breaths (add more if you feel).  At night Chad does 10 breaths before bed.

4. Nourish Yourself with healthy foods and immune boosting supplements. Contact the office for our List of Top Immune Supportive Supplements.  Now is a great time to make our favorite remedy – The Master Tonic– Find our easy recipe here.  

5. Dry brushing your skin before bathing: Skin brushing is an easy routine you can add to your shower time. It’s invigorating and has tremendous health and beauty benefits. A dry brush moves lymph in between the skin and muscles. The lymphatic system is the waste management system of the body. This promotes a healthy immune system, removes toxins, promotes better circulation, smoother skin, better muscle tone, removes dead skin cells, and feels fantastic. 

6. Contrast Shower Rinse. Cold rinse after bathing: cool rinse for 1- 3 min at the end of the shower- it closes the pores and prevents external pathogenic factors from entering through the wei qi layer (defensive layer). 

7. Wear a Scarf! (Mama Knows Best) This time of year cooler breezes arrive and cold and flu season is right behind.  In Chinese Medicine, the cause of the cold is not always bacteria or virus, but can arrive with the wind. The wind carries the pathogens; cold, damp, and/or heat (The symptoms are equal to common infections) into the body through the back of the neck. Wearing a scarf in breezy, cooler weather will do a lot to keep illness at bay.

8. Come into the clinic for immune support via acupuncture and moxibustion. During each treatment we are supporting body’s immune system and organ function.  You can book a seasonal supportive treatment here.

 

Covid-19 Clinic Safety Protocols

Covid-19 Clinic Safety Protocols

Covid-19 Safety Measures

Your Well-being is Our Top Priority.

Please Read Our Current Clinic Covid-19 Safety Protocols in Effect to Keep Everyone as Safe as Possible:

  • Only one active treatment room in both locations
  • HEPA air filter with UV light that cleans the air 5x per hour in the treatment room
  • No linens – treatment rooms completely sanitized between each patient and filter set to high between patients
  • 30 minutes between each patient for thorough sterilizing & cleaning of treatment room, treatment table, all touch surfaces, and both bathrooms
  • Ample hand sanitizer available in treatment rooms and waiting area
  • Chad Johnson, L.Ac wears a mask during the treatment and while cleaning
  • We ask that patients wear a mask (if you forget one, we have masks available for you)
  • Digital files – no paper to clean and sanitize – just an iPad and phone
  • Screening questions prior to appointments
  • Waiving of cancellations fees – we encourage you to cancel even if last minute

 

We are partnering in trust with you – our community- in order to support each of you. We ask that you stay open and communicative with us. 

(We will still offer Telehealth sessions on Saturday- which have proved highly beneficial. If you aren’t feeling well, we can assess over the phone whether you should come in, wait, or if you might benefit from a Telehealth consult.)

 

When coming into the clinic please observe the following:

  • Bring and wear your mask – We have masks available if you have forgotten or need one
  • Please wear freshly laundered clothing
  • Wait in your car until 5 minutes before your treatment
  • Wash your hands in the bathroom beforehand

We're Here to Help.

Call our office 828-333-5087 or Click Below to Schedule an Appointment.

Preventative Medicine – Keeping Your Immune System Strong

The preventative component of Holistic Medicine is where Natural Medicine really shines. We are offering 90 minute treatments only at this time so that each person can gain the most benefit during their time in the clinic.

 

  • More Immune support – We want to be able to layer on extra immune support
  • More Nervous system support
  • More Thyroid support
  • More Adrenal support
  • More Relaxation time
  • More Self-care time
  • More time for TuiNa massage
  • More moxa
  • More ability to access Acupuncture’s preventive medical applications
  • Less Patients per day = less exposure for both YOU and Chad

We're Here to Help.

Call our office 828-333-5087 or Click Below to Schedule an Appointment.

Call Us 828-333-5087 to Discuss Your Case