TCMTalk for 2017 - Holistic Healing for The Times We've Been Given

“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

This quote has been front of mind for me many times in my life, but never more so than in the months leading up to and following the American presidential election of 2016. These are grim days for those of us committed to a vision of world filled with diversity, with mutual care, with celebration, with love of our planet, and commitment to the future we leave for generations to come. Angelica & Peony and my work in the world is about healing - so even though being a potion maker and an acupuncturist may not seem inherently 'political,' it absolutely is.

Coming to the United States in my late 20s from Canada via Israel, I encountered a country without universal public health care for the first time. I was shocked to treat people as an intern at TCM school who would ask for herbs to treat serious infections. "I want you to see an MD, you may need antibiotics." or "I'd like you to have some tests so we can rule out some things" to be told "I don't have insurance, I can't afford to go to the doctor, that's why I'm getting treatment for my pneumonia at a student clinic for acupuncturists." I also vividly remember one of my first patients, a woman in her 70s with a severe heart condition. She was desperate for help to get back on her feet so she could return to work before she got fired. Every acupuncturist and healer I know has suffered with their patients for whom crushing economic and social realities stand in the way of health and well-being.

Denise and I have spent time discussing how we can contribute to what is and must become a growing national and global movement for the human future. As well as our personal activism, we are dedicating this year's episodes of TCMTalk, our video series about Traditional Chinese Medicine and holistic healing, in support of activists - all of us.

Join us through the year as we explore the energy of each season with a special focus on connections to activism and resilience, and ideas for self and other care to help us all stay as sane and healthy as we can. We begin at the beginning with Spring! Denise explores the element of the season, Wood, how to find balance, and common issues that we can be especially prone to at this time of year. Kirsten gets specific with her best advice for getting good sleep - especially when faced with imbalances in the Wood Element characterized by stress, anger and waking in the middle of the night.

You can watch all the TCMTalk videos on our YouTube channel - subscribe to get notified whenever a new video comes out!

You can also find us on social media like facebook, twitter, pinterest and of course e-mail!

Denise and I will also be combining our activism and our healing at a great event on April 30th - Karma Clinic. We'll be offering Element balancing aromatherapy acupressure treatments, using unique essential oil healing blends that we've developed over the past year. All proceeds go to benefit Planting Justice. See the schedule for the day and book now with Energy Matters.

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Friday Roundup - April 28, 2016

What I've been reading, writing, thinking about and indulging in this week.

The Trouble with Clean: I am always inspired by modern American herbalist matriarch Susun Weed. Today she shared one of her occasional essays, this one challenging the notion of 'clean' and cleanses.

"Where are we going to throw away that which we have cleaned away? What shall we do with the toxins, the filth, the disgusting waste, the foul, unneeded, unwanted, unloved parts? Where is far enough away? Can I ever get away from my shadow?" 

Rings of Power: I was mesmerized by these wood and resin rings that capture entire miniature worlds on your finger. Created by Vancouver jeweler Secret Wood, each one is handmade so no two are identical.

I love the cooking blog My Heart Beets, mostly paleo recipes by blogger Ashley. She has a great collection of Indian recipes, including lots of regional dishes. Her Coconut Egg Curry, a scrumptious and frugal dish of eggs simmered in a fragrant coconut sauce is on my menu this week.

Have a great weekend!


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Friday Special: Holiday Gift Guide

Hi Friends! I'm off with friends and family today celebrating the American Thanksgiving holiday. Instead of my usual roundup, I thought I'd share my natural health and wellness gift guide!

This is a VERY popular shopping day in the US, but not everyone is agreed on how great that is, with even some large retailers like REI opting out this year. My town of Oakland, California created Plaid Friday,  with buy local initiatives designed to support small business - check if it's in your town. Everything on my gift guide can be purchased online, so you can shop 'Black Friday' without the mob scene. Jump online and support some locally-owned small businesses, buy some prezzies your loved ones will enjoy, and then strap on your sneakers for a walk in the woods!

Gift Certificates for local services

Your local healer surely offers gift certificates. If your intended recipient has always wanted to try a modality, or has trouble taking time for self-care, this can be a great choice. Two East Bay healers I personally recommend who have online gift certificates include Cicuto Acupuncture and Energy Matters Acupuncture & Qi Gong.

Foodie DIY goodies

Pickling, fermenting, home brewing, cheese making: old fashioned skills are new again! For a friend who's always talking about trying one of these foodie adventures but is intimidated, more and more classes are springing up like these ones at Preserved in Oakland. And these hand made fermentation crocks from Berkeley potter Sarah Kersten are expensive but suitable to become a fermentation heirloom!

Um, Jewelry!

This section could be looong, but I'll control myself and tell you about just two beautiful local jewelry makers I know: Kyla of Impressed By Nature offers utterly unique pieces that are made from real pressed flowers. I snagged a ranunculus set that I'm in love with. Omonivie of tula in bloom creates pieces with a rich, organic feel using materials like hammered copper and horn.

Herbal and Body Care Goodies.

Of course, check out my yummy lip butter and healing balm gift sets, as well as the AcuCare kit curated by Denise of Cicuto Acupuncture. All Angelica & Peony purchases include free gift wrapping so you can gift straight from my website. Concept 47, the online home of the sweet boutique in Oakland's Temescal district, has a fantastic assortment of the best of Northern California herbalists and makers. I especially love these gorgeous teas from Semilla Botanicals, and this Falling Leaves scented candle from KarmaLit (which donates a portion of sales to local Oakland nonprofits).  For remedies made with Chinese and Western herbs, shop at Five Flavors Herbs, an Oakland based herb dispensary and pharmacy with a great line of teas.

Hope you enjoy this virtual browse. Making the choice to support locally invested makers and small businesses means the love you express with your gift extends to the whole community. Thank you!

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