Healers + Makers Meetup with Cat Brooks, Friday September 14, 5-7 pm

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When: Friday, September 14, 5-7 pm

Where: 4341 Piedmont Ave, Second Floor (accessible parking, elevator and washroom. Fragrance free space)

What: Meet Cat Brooks, Oakland Mayoral Candidate. Shmooze, eat snacks, donate, get inspired, and win prizes!

More: Cat Brooks Campaign Website -  Facebook Event Page

As a healer, I want my patients to live in a community and city that supports their whole being. Health means more than just getting acupuncture and taking herbs! We need stable housing, clean air, connected communities, respect and empowerment for our kids, elders and cultural traditions, true public safety, support for local businesses over multinationals, access to resources and so much more. That's why I am passionate about Cat Brook's people-powered vision for Oakland.

If you can't come but would like to donate in support of Cat's campaign, you can do so here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/catbrooksformayor2018 

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Immunity + Lung Health Class + Clinic! Special Event November 19

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The fall is a great time to take extra care of our lungs - this is when cold and flu season starts and the dry, windy weather kicks up allergies, coughs and other lung issues. For all of us in the Bay Area the awful fires this year have layered on a heavy burden of toxic smoke and breath-taking sadness, fear and shock. With my colleague Erin Wood of Erin Wood Acupuncture and Herbs, I'm offering a special afternoon class and treatment clinic at Vibrant Health and Wellness in downtown San Leandro. Learn herbs, foods, essential oils and breath work to help restore your lungs and prevent and treat cold and flu. After the workshop, we'll relax into a community style acupuncture treatment to boost your immunity and help you breath easy (needle free options available!)

Space is limited, $30 including samples and treatment. RSVP here.

Vibrant Health and Wellness in downtown San Leandro is home to an intimate upstairs workshop space. There is some parking including handicapped spaces behind the building, and lots of free street parking. The workshop will be held up one flight of stairs with a bathroom on the same level as the class. We will be using essential oils during the class. Call or email with any questions and I hope to see you there!

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Pop-up sale at Inkblot Gallery, Friday July 14, 6-9 pm

Photo collage by Denise Cicuto

Photo collage by Denise Cicuto

My friend and colleague Denise Cicuto is a gifted photographer, and as part of her deep work in the wisdom of the Five Elements over the last two years, she has created a photographic project evoking the embodied alchemical transitions of five elements through the year. I'll be joining Denise at the opening reception to share the first two available Healing Anointing oils we've created based in these elemental studies - Wood and Fire. These ready-to-use aromatherapy blends offer powerful healing for body, mind and spirit.

Join us at Inkblot Gallery, 933 Central Avenue, Unit B, Alameda, California 94501, part of Alameda Artwalk.

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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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Join me at special events this month!

I have two great events coming up in November! Join me at the Manzanita Wellness Center in Berkeley for a Fall & Winter Wellness Open House, Sunday November 6 from 2-5 pm. Sample healing modalities from the Manzanita Collective including moxa, acupuncture, energy reading, massage, DIY medicine making and acu-yoga, and I'll be there offering seasonal facial treatments. My treatments are free, but I'll be collecting doations for the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council. They are the folks on the ground providing health care to water protectors in Standing Rock in their struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline. I'll also be donating a portion of the proceeds from all sales that day, and fellow healers are collecting warm winter hats, mitts and coats which will join a package going to the Water Protectors.

The following weekend, I'm co-hosting the second annual Opal Street Center Holiday Faire! I'll be joined by an amazing list of makers, healers and herbalists for a holiday sale. I'll be offering facial acupressure massage demos at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30, and some special products I only offer at in-person events. Enjoy hot herbal bevvies and snax and get all your shopping done. Saturday, November 12 from 4-7 pm, 3947 Opal St. in Oakland.

I hope to see you!

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TCMTalk for September - Immunity, the energy of fall, and what's wrong with the world?

I'll be sharing more in written form in an upcoming blog post, but join me tomorrow on Periscope starting at 4 pm PST for TCMTalk live video chats. My colleague Denise is traveling this week, so I'm scoping solo. Learn more about my favourite essential oil and herbal helpers for the season, and some of my unfiltered thoughts on why we all need to slow.the.hell.down.

See you there! You can always watch archives of all vids from TCMTalk (including Denise's great September scopes on acupressure, cupping, gua sha and more) on our Youtube channel, and follow us on twitter, facebook and pinterest for links to everything we talk about and what's coming up.

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TCM Talk in August: Natural Pain Relief

Join Denise from Cicuto Acupuncture and myself on Thursday August 4th and 18th at 4 pm PST on @tcm_talk on Periscope. This month we'll be discussing Natural Pain Relief - how acupuncture, herbal medicine, topical treatments, diet, movement and mindfulness practices can relieve and manage pain. As always, we'll answer questions about what you can expect from working with a practitioner, and load you up with practical at-home practices and strategies.

Send your questions to us at: traditionalchinesemedicinetalk@gmail.com 

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TCM Talk for June is all about travel

Join Denise from Cicuto Acupuncture and myself on Thursday June 2 and 16th at 4 pm PST on @tcm_talk on Periscope. This month both Denise and I are traveling, so we're sharing all our best advice from Chinese and holistic medicine on how to survive and thrive while you get where you're going. From acupressure to reduce jetlag, to aromatherapy for motion sickness, we're collecting our fave tips on travel to share. Tune in live from your phone or desktop on Periscope, or watch the recordings on our Youtube channel.

Questions? We'll answer on air! Send your questions to us at: traditionalchinesemedicinetalk@gmail.com 

Bon Voyage!

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TCM Talk in May: Passion, Desire & Sex!

Join Denise from Cicuto Acupuncture and myself on Thursday May 5th and 19th at 4 pm PST on @tcm_talk on Periscope. This month we'll be discussing Passion, Desire & Sex - everything from Traditional Chinese Medicine theory about Yin and Yang; the herb called "Horny Goat Weed"; qi gong for healthy reproductive system; acupuncture, herbs and essential oils for conditions like painful intercourse and erectile dysfunction and much more! 

Send your questions to us at: traditionalchinesemedicinetalk@gmail.com 

Here are the lyrics to a hit madrigal from 1595, full of double-entendres about the month of May:

click to hear a recording of the madrigal!

click to hear a recording of the madrigal!

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Spring Skin Renewal

I hope you enjoy this little how-to for spring skin - it features Angelica & Peony skin care products, but as always, I include some DIY alternatives. This went out to my subscribers last week, sign up here to get my monthly newsletter with articles like this, product specials and sales and interesting news in natural beauty and wellness. -Kirsten

At the end of the winter season, your skin might be ready for a little renewal - dark days, indoor heating, heavier foods, can leave your skin feeling dull, dry or broken out. Here's some easy yet sumptuous at-home skin treatments to try before stepping out into the springtime! Pick the one for your skin type.

Dry, sensitive and mature skin: it's important not to be rough with your delicate skin. Use steam, herbs and the gentle exfoliation of a terry cloth facecloth to renew your skin's surface without aggravating it. Slather your face with a gentle oil with healing and moisturizing properties, either a premade combination like Angelica & Peony's Nourishing Serum, or individual oils with moisturizing and healing properties like olive oil, sesame oil or wheat germ oil. Heat a wash cloth under the tap, and lay it on your face. Allow it to cool on your face, and then use it to wipe off the oil, giving a loving scrub as you do. If your skin is very dry, end with a final application of Nourishing Serum.

Oily or acne-prone skin: be grateful for your face's oil! It's a natural protectant that will keep your skin plump and dewy for life! You can likely tolerate a slightly more vigorous exfoliation. For the benefit of Chinese herbs, use Angelica & Peony's Serenity Scrub and Mask. Mix a tablespoon of Serenity with an equal amount of warm water and pat over your face. Gently scrub and rinse. You can also make a mask using egg white, or yogurt for a slightly stronger exfoliating effect (tutorial here). For a homemade version, grind adzuki beans in a coffee grinder or blender until fine and use as scrub or mask. End with a treatment moisturizer for oily skin such as Angelica & Peony's Three-in-One.

Uneven pigment, sun-damage, fine-lines: if these are your main issues and your skin is not very sensitive or ultra dry, try my favorite treatment: a clay mask! This is a fun article on the different types of clays, but I use Angelica & Peony's Regenerating Masque with Ginseng and French Clay, which combines the detoxifying and purifying qualities of French green clay with Chinese herbs used for centuries to nourish, rejuvenate and heal the skin. Combine the Masque or clay with water to make a paste, and apply to the face, avoiding the eyes. Let it sit until it begins to dry - not until it's so dry it cracks. Using a warm wet washcloth, wipe off and rinse your face clean. Finish with a rejuvenating product like Angelica & Peony's Regenerating Serum, or single oils with skin renewing properties like rosehip seed oil or hazelnut oil.

I'll be offering customized treatments like these in the intimate and healing atmosphere of the Manzanita Wellness Clinic in Berkeley on May 1 if you'd like to join me! The admission price includes a 1 hour workshop on self-care and restorative practices, an array of mini-treatments including customized facial renewal with me, herbal foot soaks and energy balancing massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture and private energy readings. We'll also have time for reflection, journaling, communing and tea drinking, and send you home with herbal favors to keep your inner and outer beauty nourished. Tickets are very limited, so RSVP before April 20!

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