My Accident, Fall Health Tips,

and Basics of Chinese Medicine Registration

Last week, a Toyota Tacoma truck slammed into the back of my poor little Honda Fit and smashed my car into the city bus which was stopped at the light in front of me. My car crumpled at both ends like an accordion. It was one of those moments where life could have changed in a big way. 

But thankfully, it didn’t. I walked away, largely unscathed. Some whiplash, jaw pain, and some massive adrenaline output, but I’m just so grateful not to be in a hospital right now.

The accident reinforced my gratitude for my life as it is: my family, work that I love, my health — even with auto-immune issues and chronic pain —  and the truly deep and caring relationships with my clients that I cherish. I received an outpouring of love from students and patients in the form of emails, Facebook messages, offers of vehicles, legal advice, and spontaneous office drop-ins just to verify that I was truly OK. So thanks for the love, and know that I love you back.  

Near-misses like last week’s tend to bring into focus questions of values. With only a limited time on the planet in this body, am I paying attention to the right things? Is this a life can feel good about having lived? Am I being true to myself, making time for what matters? 

One thing that I’m trying to reconcile is how much I love teaching — and I’m really good at it – with how little I love self-promotion. Earlier this year, I created something totally unique: a distillation of my deep knowledge of Chinese Medicine blended with practical self-care applications. Teaching is part of my dharma – what I was born to do. 

If you’re looking to learn about yourself – and others — from a Chinese Medicine perspective (yin and yang, the 5 elements, acu-points, aligning with seasonal rhythms, Daoist theory) you won’t find a better course than the Basics of Chinese Medicine: Your Inner Ecosystem.

Now onto the practical self-care tips, here are 5 things to help you stay healthy during this seasonal transition: Avoid getting hit a by a car. Seriously.

  1. Move your lymph. Your lymphatic system is a key first-line of defense against germs. Exercise is a fantastic way to move your lymph. But on days when you might not make the time to exercise, you can certainly spare a minute to do a quick dry brushing. Get a natural bristle brush, and lightly brush the skin from the extremities towards the heart.

Because autumn is the season of dryness, I prefer giving myself a gentle massage with oil rather than dry-brush. (Coconut, sesame, almond, jojoba, and sunflower are all good choices.)

Moving your lymph not only helps your body deal with viruses this fall: it helps protect your brain against the buildup of toxins. Fun fact: until this year (!!), doctors and scientists were unaware that the brain was connected to the rest of the lymphatic system – but it is. The sticky amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease drain out of the brain via the newly-discovered tiny “glymphatic” channels. When our lymph channels back up, the brain drains can get backed up as well, potentially leading to inflammation, anxiety depression, and autoimmune diseases. (John Doulliard’s fabulous book Eat Wheat.)

2. Bust out your neti pot. If viruses can’t multiply in your system, it’s difficult for them to make you sick. Excess mucus in your sinuses is a breeding ground for them. You can make your body less hospitable by using your neti pot with gentle salt water every day.

3. Smell the evergreens. A couple of excellent ones to diffuse into the air are the evergreens: spruce, pine. I put a few drops into my diffuser to kill airborne germs but also to support my adrenals, which have been a bit fried since the accident. Also pictured is saro, which is one that’s great to open up the lungs and help with feelings of melancholy and loneliness which can be common in the fall, as it’s the season of letting go. Saro mixes well with the evergreens.

4. Eat turmeric paste: In addition to being anti-inflammatory, turmeric is a lymphatic cleanser, bile stimulator, blood sugar balancer. Combine 16 parts turmeric to 1 part black pepper, a dash of cinnamon, clove, or ginger and a little raw honey. Stir it up, and make a paste. Eat a little bit every day, or a lot of it (1/2 -1 tsp. every few hours) if you’re starting to get sick. (Unless you’re pregnant or prone to Kidney stones, in which case don’t.) Feed it to your kids – it will make them less phlegmy.

5. Sleep like a badass Orange Cat.


Eat Wheat By John Douillard (chapter 4)

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