Life Under a Purple Cloud

Healing the Eastern Way

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So this is what an acupuncturist who’s also a US Navy Sailor training in Walter Reed Military Medical center looks like! :)
I’m out here in Bethesda, Maryland for two weeks learning patient care from a western standpoint at the cardiology prep/recovery unit. It’s a great experience so far, and my unit is fascinated with the fact that they have a licensed acupuncturist temporarily on staff. 
Although I can’t leave my unit this time around, I’ve been asked to perform (and perhaps teach) acupuncture when I’m able to come back maybe next year. 
Even the military is searching for new, innovative ideas to help improve patient care. You just have to explain acupuncture/oriental medicine theory to them in a manner that they can understand, and I’m doing the best I can :)

So this is what an acupuncturist who’s also a US Navy Sailor training in Walter Reed Military Medical center looks like! :)

I’m out here in Bethesda, Maryland for two weeks learning patient care from a western standpoint at the cardiology prep/recovery unit. It’s a great experience so far, and my unit is fascinated with the fact that they have a licensed acupuncturist temporarily on staff. 

Although I can’t leave my unit this time around, I’ve been asked to perform (and perhaps teach) acupuncture when I’m able to come back maybe next year. 

Even the military is searching for new, innovative ideas to help improve patient care. You just have to explain acupuncture/oriental medicine theory to them in a manner that they can understand, and I’m doing the best I can :)

40 notes

sceneryofme:

So a Taoist and a Buddhist walk into a bar……Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Sonny came to town and we met up for drinks. 

 I’m in Maryland working/training at the military hospital in Bethesda, and decided to meet up with my favorite Zen bro while I’m out here. Dharma talks ‘n Scotch. Great time, man!

sceneryofme:

So a Taoist and a Buddhist walk into a bar……Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Sonny came to town and we met up for drinks. 

I’m in Maryland working/training at the military hospital in Bethesda, and decided to meet up with my favorite Zen bro while I’m out here.

Dharma talks ‘n Scotch. Great time, man!

6 notes

I think I’ll put this here, doing a kung fu pose in Cancun. 
Kungcun. Poser.
But really, I just wanted to remind everyone (especially my patients who read this) that I will be away yet again for another two weeks, but not for fun in the sun and sand, but for Navy duty.
The Purple Cloud will be closed from Saturday, July 19th all the way till August 4th, returning to the office August 5th. 
I’ll be filling in at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in the Cardiology Unit for some work and training. I’ve never been there before, let alone Maryland, so although I’m a bit nervous, I’m pretty excited to receive some additional training in Western medicine, and to see some sites around the area, especially D.C., which I haven’t seen since 8th grade, like a billion years ago.
I promise I won’t be away for a month-long chunk out of summer next year!

I think I’ll put this here, doing a kung fu pose in Cancun. 

Kungcun. Poser.

But really, I just wanted to remind everyone (especially my patients who read this) that I will be away yet again for another two weeks, but not for fun in the sun and sand, but for Navy duty.

The Purple Cloud will be closed from Saturday, July 19th all the way till August 4th, returning to the office August 5th. 

I’ll be filling in at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in the Cardiology Unit for some work and training. I’ve never been there before, let alone Maryland, so although I’m a bit nervous, I’m pretty excited to receive some additional training in Western medicine, and to see some sites around the area, especially D.C., which I haven’t seen since 8th grade, like a billion years ago.

I promise I won’t be away for a month-long chunk out of summer next year!

Filed under acupuncture chicago rogers park

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Rogers Park, Chicago, IL.

This is a brilliant video done by two Northwestern University students Dong Kyu Lee and Danny Na as a part of their class project spotlighting the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, IL, where my acupuncture office is located.

I’m featured at the 2:30 and 3:06 marks. 

The video also features Heartland Cafe, Mindcrusher Tattoo (across the street from me), and various different independently owned shops. 

It was a unique look at this neighborhood, and made me quite proud of being amongst the independent (and independent minded) business owners in Rogers Park. 

And by the way, Dong Kyu Lee and Danny Na both received a 98% grade for this project. It was an honor to be a part of it.

I have to work on my interviewing technique, I’m horrible at this!

Gotta love their modified rendition of Jay-Z/Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.” 

Filed under Rogers Park Rogers Park State of Mind Acupuncture Tattoos Heartland Cafe chicago

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My story.

It was five years ago on July 2, 2009 when I lost my Dad.

It also happened to be my birthday.

It’s hard to forget such a heartbreaking anniversary, and even harder to forget the thoughts and feelings that went through my mind in the cold hospital room while I held his hand as I watched on the monitor his heart slowing to a halt. 

"Forgive me Dad," I said, remembering all the times I’ve said and done horrible things to upset him in the past. "I’ll make you proud."

After what felt like a long and daunting task of trying to find a proper cemetery for him, five years ago today on July 10, 2009, we finally laid him to rest. 

The morning after, not even 24 hours after the funeral, there I was… sitting at my usual spot in the first class of the day, preparing to learn how to needle for the first time in the Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine program. 

"What on earth are you doing here?" one of the faculty asked compassionately, all of whom knowing what had happened.  

"Making Dad proud," I said.

It wasn’t about me anymore. It wasn’t about some medical title or diploma that I’d earn so I can call myself a “Master of Science in Oriental Medicine” or a “Licensed Acupuncturist.” It was about knowing full well that had I studied Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine at least 15 years ago, I could have prevented its progression, which started with stress. That’s it… stress and his inability to handle stress was the root condition which lead to a kidney failure (amongst other conditions), which then led to a fungal infection (due to a compromised immune system) that finally took him.

So to honor my Dad, the day after his funeral, I showed up to class. The school had offered to allow me to take time off, but I wasn’t having it because it would have set me a year behind. And as far as I was concerned, the faster I finished school, the faster I can get out there and help save others from losing their loved ones so soon.

Stress is such an easy condition for Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine to treat, but if you leave it untreated, the chain of conditions that it causes can lead to any number of horribly life-threatening diseases, including kidney failure. And in my eyes, in this society, stress is the number one killer.

So I felt it was my duty to finish school. It was hard on me emotionally and financially, but I graduated on time, and I graduated with honors.

So here I am right now at my office, exactly five years after I laid my Dad to rest, writing this blog post after a busy day of treating patients. My patients express their gratitude towards me for making such effective medical treatments so affordable and accessible for them, but I’m grateful to them for giving me the chance to help. 

Because maybe - just maybe - I helped veer their lives towards the better, so that their loved ones can enjoy their company just a bit longer. 

Filed under Acupuncture

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10 Things That The People Who Love Their Lives Are Doing Differently

  1. They don’t bother trying to make others like them — mainly because they don’t care if they’re liked.
  2. They do things because they want to do them, not because they believe they have to do them.
  3. They love their friends but don’t rely on them.
  4. When you ask them what they do, they don’t give you a job title.
  5. When you ask them where they live, they say, “At the moment…”
  6. They have their own philosophies, their own religion they created and live by.
  7. They embrace their impermanence.
  8. They see the world as their playhouse and their mind as the conductor.
  9. They live in the moment, but dream in the future.
  10. They don’t bother changing others, but instead learn how to deal with them appropriately.

Some these are really hokey, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not helpful. 

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The phrase “Ancient Wisdom” kinda irks me.

People say things like “I like Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine because of its ancient wisdom.” But that doesn’t tell the full story of why acupuncture works, and “medical xenophobes” enjoy using that against us practitioners of Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine (AOM).

Well, acupuncture is weird.

It’s odd.

But I say this endearingly and relatively to the consciousness of our society. Why would I say this? Because everything we knew (or thought we knew) about medicine as applied to our current[*] knowledge of anatomy & physiology has been flipped upside down by the simple mere existence and efficacy of AOM. 

I mean come on, you’re supposed to believe that I’m going to stick pins in you, and that’s supposed to help treat your cold or pain or anxiety or womens health conditions? 

It’s very odd.

What makes it even more strange is the manner in which we learn AOM. We learn about how the spleen and stomach are associated with the “earth element,” and that putting needles in certain areas of the body will “tonify earth.”

Totes weird as heck.

And to anyone in this hemisphere who hears about this, from laymen to brain surgeon, will see this and respond sarcastically, “sounds legit, lulz.” And so they dismiss AOM as a whole and they mock the whole idea of “Ancient Wisdom.”

But what they don’t know is that this is all just code. Historical code.

If you look historically, the theories of AOM were part of an evolutionary process of a medical knowledge base (originating in the area that we now as “China”) that started a really, really long time ago. The entire planet’s knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, and overall science (and even communication for that matter) were all still in their developmental stages. But even as our civilizations and scientific knowledge advanced, AOM still held on to the very technical jargon it started with, mainly because along with its evolution, it’s medical theories have been tested, debated, and retested over and over again for thousands of years till now, and the theories still held true. But how?

To put it as simply as possible, every aspect of our nervous/endocrine systems regulate “pretty much” everything in our bodies (well, everything important at least), including its constant pursuit of homeostasis, in other words, healing and adapting. So if the body is in pain, diseased, or is suffering from anxiety, then you’d need to stimulate the nervous/endocrine systems to initiate a therapeutic response to help achieve its homeostasis. And that’s what acupuncture does.

This was true in 200BCE, and it’s still true today. The ancients used their highly developed understanding of nature to describe the human body in analogical and metaphorical technical terms, which we practitioners still use today to maintain the consistency and integrity of the medicine that we practice. 

So when I say things like “Tonify the Earth,” or “Stomach and Spleen Qi,” it’s historical code for normalizing certain digestive functions, or the digestive system as a whole. You see, a few thousand years ago people looked towards natural phenomena to help explain how the body works, because in Taoist thought (where this medicine’s philosophy is from), the human body is a microcosm of mother nature. So when they associated “Earth” with the digestive system, what they were really looking at was how the earth/land/soil was the place of nourishment for all of the plant life which were then used to nourish animals and humans as a part of the natural cycle of mother nature’s existence. And that’s what the digestive system does, it’s in charge of processing our food to nourish us for our own survival.  

That’s just one example, but see how that reasoning works?

How do we know what acupuncture point does what? We’ve learned it from the countless practitioners who’ve tested the theory, debated, re-tested, and documented it since at least 200BCE when the first textbook came out. But I’m sure you know that you’d probably need at least another 200-1000 years prior to 200BCE in order to come up with the sufficient knowledge to write a pretty important medical book that is still to this day the foremost text in AOM theory.  

It’s called the “Huang Di Nei Jing,” or “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine.”

It’s also considered a Taoist text, by the way.

That’s my long-winded explanation on why I cringe when someone says “I like acupuncture because of its ancient wisdom.” Even though it’s true, it doesn’t quite tell the full story because it’s a long story, and a very scientific one.

[*] I say “current” because everything we know about anatomy and physiology is, although widely accepted by both Eastern and Western practitioners, still just theory. Meaning, our knowledge is ever-changing. 

Filed under acupuncture

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The Effects Of Negative Emotions On Our Health

Interesting way to view emotional associations with certain areas of the body.

Humans experience an array of emotions, anything from happiness, to sadness to extreme joy and depression. Each one of these emotions creates a different feeling within the body. After all, our body releases different chemicals when we experience various things that make us happy and each chemical works to create a different environment within the body. For example if your brain releases serotonin, dopamine or oxytocin, you will feel good and happy. Convexly, if your body releases cortisol while you are stressed, you will have an entirely different feeling associated more with the body kicking into survival mode.

Read more

(Source: goodlifemedicine)

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Don Cheadle is directing and starring in a Miles Davis biographical film called “Miles Ahead.” One of my favorite actors playing one of my favorite jazz musicians… this is awesome. He also starred as one of my favorite singers back in 1998 when he played Sammy Davis Jr in the movie “The Rat Pack.” 

Don Cheadle is directing and starring in a Miles Davis biographical film called “Miles Ahead.” One of my favorite actors playing one of my favorite jazz musicians… this is awesome. He also starred as one of my favorite singers back in 1998 when he played Sammy Davis Jr in the movie “The Rat Pack.” 

Filed under jazz miles davis don cheadle

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Even though my interest in sports (especially American franchise league sports) has waned throughout the years, one thing is for certain, I will always love the US Mens (and Womens) National Team. 
I’ve been watching Tim Howard play ever since at least 2003 (Manchester United), and was always puzzled as to why he wasn’t a starter for the USMNT till 2010… and now you see why! 
It was fun to watch our guys play, and I was so proud to see the support for them from everywhere, even in Mexico! 
My jaw is still sore from clenching it throughout the whole USAvsBEL match! It was a great match, but even better, the sportsmanship between the two teams was phenomenal.

Even though my interest in sports (especially American franchise league sports) has waned throughout the years, one thing is for certain, I will always love the US Mens (and Womens) National Team. 

I’ve been watching Tim Howard play ever since at least 2003 (Manchester United), and was always puzzled as to why he wasn’t a starter for the USMNT till 2010… and now you see why! 

It was fun to watch our guys play, and I was so proud to see the support for them from everywhere, even in Mexico! 

My jaw is still sore from clenching it throughout the whole USAvsBEL match! It was a great match, but even better, the sportsmanship between the two teams was phenomenal.

Filed under usmnt soccer futbol world cup

5 notes

Well I’m home now, but look at that Mexican sunrise!

I took one last look at the sunrise yesterday, and the only thing that came into my head was “I can’t wait to see my patients again.” All this beach, and all I can think about is work. LOL!

I can’t help it because I love what I do. 

Years ago, a client of my late father had asked him “so what are you going to do when you retire?” My dad asked what he meant by “retirement,” and his client said it meant that you can do whatever you love in life. That’s when my dad said, “In that case, I’ve been retired for years!” 

He saved and sacrificed and scratched and clawed his way towards finally opening his own business, and that’s where my drive comes from. 

It’s easy to work hard when you love what you do. And it’s fun. The secret is that you don’t do it for fame or fortune, you just do it because you love the act of doing it. And to me, the point of life isn’t money or popularity, it’s freedom and happiness. And if you simply love what you do, it shows in your quality of service, and the money comes naturally. 

[So much applied Taoism in the above paragraph]

So I sat there yesterday staring at the beautiful sunrise, listening to the waves crash upon the gorgeous white sandy shore. It was a fun two weeks in Mexico with my family, but it was definitely time to head back home. Besides, we’re here every year, we own this timeshare! I mean look at that view! LOOK! 

Wanna come with us next year? ;)

Well I’m home now, but look at that Mexican sunrise!

I took one last look at the sunrise yesterday, and the only thing that came into my head was “I can’t wait to see my patients again.” All this beach, and all I can think about is work. LOL!

I can’t help it because I love what I do.

Years ago, a client of my late father had asked him “so what are you going to do when you retire?” My dad asked what he meant by “retirement,” and his client said it meant that you can do whatever you love in life. That’s when my dad said, “In that case, I’ve been retired for years!”

He saved and sacrificed and scratched and clawed his way towards finally opening his own business, and that’s where my drive comes from.

It’s easy to work hard when you love what you do. And it’s fun. The secret is that you don’t do it for fame or fortune, you just do it because you love the act of doing it. And to me, the point of life isn’t money or popularity, it’s freedom and happiness. And if you simply love what you do, it shows in your quality of service, and the money comes naturally.

[So much applied Taoism in the above paragraph]

So I sat there yesterday staring at the beautiful sunrise, listening to the waves crash upon the gorgeous white sandy shore. It was a fun two weeks in Mexico with my family, but it was definitely time to head back home. Besides, we’re here every year, we own this timeshare! I mean look at that view! LOOK!

Wanna come with us next year? ;)